Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baltimore Speed Cameras Used For Surveillance

Officials and Politicians who support speed cameras have often stated "if you don't speed you won't get your picture taken". But in the case of Baltimore City's speed cameras that is apparently not the case, according to a recent story by WBAL. These speed cameras, in addition to taking still photos, are equipt with video capability which is monitored live 24/7.

The cameras all feed into Baltimore City's Metropolitan Transportation Center where the video feeds can be viewed at any time by city workers. "Now as a side note, because it is a camera, we can on occasions look at the...roadway through the camera, because its there. We are using it for surveillance purposes, not that we're monitoring what the actual speeds are," WBAL quotes Randall Scott, Baltimore Traffic Division Director. "From time to time we can call up to look at the video image of the speed cameras," a city official states in a recorded interview.

City officials state that they are not recording this video. However this could be changed at any time the city police choose, assuming they can acquire the sophisticated equipment needed... such as a VCR.

Baltimore is installing 51 speed cameras in "school zones", many of these school zones were not designated as such prior to the introduction of speed cameras. City officials say "most" of the cameras are already installed (no word on whether all the 'school zone' signs are or not). Baltimore's contractor receives a percentage cut of each citation paid. "Transportation department workers are also trained in how to maintain, and calibrate the cameras, by the company that operates them, ACS State and Local Solutions." states WBAL.