Nutter administration, city controller differ on Philly security cams

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After Philadelphia City Council took a road trip to Camden Monday, Council members are now taking a hard look at how that city’s video crime-fighting system works.

The Philadelphia contingent was impressed with Camden’s ShotSpotter system, which uses highly sensitive microphones to detect gunfire, then focus cameras on where the shots were fired.  

Council President Darrell Clarke said ShotSpotter could deter gun crime in Philadelphia.

“We’re talking about a technology that can actually report a gunshot so we have a real sense of how many people are actually shooting,” said Clarke, adding that it would “let people know that we have this detection system that if you shoot, I don’t care if you hit them or not, we’re going to find you, and we’re going to track you down.”

But City Controller Alan Butkovitz contends that Philadelphia’s existing video cameras would be hard-pressed to work with ShotSpotter, saying two audits found one-third of the cameras were not functional.

But the Nutter administration disagreed with Butkowitz’s assessment, saying 93 percent of the cameras are working on any given day. The city is also working with software similar to ShotSpotter that is in testing and should be implemented soon.

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