Two sides of story on Philly video cameras

Philadelphia’s controller says he believes the city’s video camera program designed to catch criminals is overpriced and not working.

Controller Alan Butkovitz says his investigation has found 47 percent of Philadelphia’s surveillance cameras are not operational. That, he says, puts the cost of working cameras at $136,000 each.

“This cost is exceedingly alarming and outright excessive, especially when $13.9 million is equivalent to the cost of putting 200 new police recruits on our streets,” Gillison said Wednesday. “This project has been plagued with problems from the beginning.”

Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison says about 70 percent of the cameras now are up and running.

“It was 35 percent that were working, and now today we are up to 70 percent that are working,” Gillison said. “By Sept. 1, 90 percent will be working.”

Gillison says the cameras do deter crime, but he doesn’t have numbers to back that claim because the older units were unreliable and are being replaced.

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