Philly Surveillance Cameras Not Really Surveilling Anything

City controller Alan Butkovitz released a highly critical review condemning Philadelphia’s pricey video surveillance system. With a hefty 13.9 million dollar price tag and, as of February, only 47% of the 216 cameras actually working, Butkovitz maintains that the city would have been better off hiring another 200 police officers.

According to Butkovitz, each working camera costs the city about $136,000. The mayor’s office, of course, argued that this claim is “old” and “wrong” and stated that about 67% of the cameras now work.

Everett Gillison, the mayor’s chief of staff and deputy mayor for public safety, fought back against Butkovitz’s harsh criticism, claiming that the cameras have proven popular in many neighborhoods since they can be used to both deter crimes and help solve them. “From my point of view, we’ve redesigned, given our experience, which is what good leadership does,” he said.

Riiiight. Ok, if keeping our security cameras on isn’t a realistic goal, can’t we at least get the blue light to blink so criminals assume they’re working? That’s better than telling all of Philadelphia’s crime world that there’s a %53 chance that security is hooked up to nothing.


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Rachel Clarke

Rachel is a college student in Boston and a native Philadelphian. Among her favorite things are old movies, sushi, street vendors, puppies, red nail polish and lazy Sundays, where she can most likely be found in her “happy place” aka the nearest Starbucks. She is strongly opposed to scrunchies, decaf coffee, and mathematics.

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