Seattle installs more security cameras at Columbia Tower, bridges

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 7:14 AM

Seattle's security camera network has now reached beyond the port and waterfront. Earlier this week, the Seattle Police Department installed more cameras at two city bridges and there are cameras positioned downtown.

After 9-11, the Columbia Center was considered a terrorist target, so Homeland Security offered Seattle a grant for cameras to monitor the building. There's now a camera on each corner of the Columbia Tower. They are not operational, but are being tested.

The cameras are part of four wireless networks with 34 cameras positioned along the waterfront, downtown and Ballard and Fremont bridges. And it has people concerned about privacy.

"It's a new world.  I would say cameras are everywhere," said Detective Monty Moss with the SPD Special Operations Unit.  "We are a professional police department and we can bring this technology to Seattle and use it in a responsible way."

At a Seattle City Council meeting Wednesday designed to formulate regulations for the use of cameras, several citizens voiced the fear of a police state.

"They can look into our house, our living room. Its really concerning for me,"  said Alki resident Dr. Will Washington.

Moss said each camera will be pre-programmed to electronically block out homes and offices. Video would be stored one month and no audio is recorded. Moss added only supervisors from the Seattle Police Department, Fire Department and Department of Transportation would control the cameras.

Police insist the data from the cameras will help them respond to criminal activity. And some people testified that they want that kind of protection.

"We need to have 24-7 protection on the waterfront," said Alki resident Diane Nelson.

Police hope to start testing the cameras next month. They’re waiting for regulations to be developed and an ok from Mayor Mike McGinn.

 

KING 5's Liza Javier and Linda Brill contributed to this report.
 

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