New York half way to installing terror surveillance network

cameras to the network.

“These are cameras that you can use as alarms, you can put algorithms in to sound an alarm if someone leaves a package in an area for an extended period of time or if you want to go back and look at somebody in a red shirt who passed by a camera in the last 30 days,” Kelly said.

The commissioner attributed the five years it has taken to approach the midway point to complications of technology and topography.

“There’s always technology challenges,” he said. “It’s just not a question of turning on a switch. It’s a very complex environment. The topography doesn’t lend itself to a lot of the things that we want to do easily.”

“Transmissions, the camera positioning: all of that because of the layout of Lower Manhattan makes it difficult to do,” Kelly said.

“It’s been a moving target for a long time,” City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said of the initiative. “The first goal as always is to get federal funding for things.”

Amy Kudwa, a DHSy spokeswoman, said the department “can’t speculate on future competitive grant disbursement.”

Bloomberg News reports that the Lower Manhattan area is home to landmarks such as the site of the World Trade Center attacks, the New York Stock Exchange, and City Hall. Midtown includes Times Square, where a Pakistani immigrant tried to detonate a car bomb in May, and the headquarters of many major U.S. banks and securities firms.

The surveillance system combines cameras, owned by the city and partners in the public and private sectors, with automated license-plate readers and biological, chemical, nuclear and radiation detectors, according to the police department.

Fourteen business and public “stakeholders” own about 400 of the Lower Manhattan cameras, Browne said. They include the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and companies such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the fifth biggest U.S. bank by assets. The bank’s headquarters on 200 West Street are across an intersection from ground zero, where the twin towers once stood.

The police will start to add cameras from partners in Midtown next month, Browne said. The current network can accommodate 3,000 camera feeds and is designed to be expandable.

There are “memorandums of understanding that have evolved because of technology differences because all cameras are not alike,” Kelly said. “Meshing them together is not an easy thing to do.”

A command center opened two years ago in a