NYC Opens Counterterrorism Center

New York City police opened a new counterterrorism center in Manhattan's financial district this month that is set at some point to monitor data from radiological and biological threat sensors installed around the island and its connecting bridges and tunnels, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Nov. 29, 2007).

Law enforcement personnel monitor data and video feeds on screens spread along the desks and walls of the site, which was prepared in the first stage of a $100 million effort launched after Sept. 11, 2001.

The facility would eventually receive video footage from 3,000 cameras posted in and near the financial district, an area of about 1.7 square miles. Roughly 150 cameras have been deployed to date; an additional 250 are expected to begin operating this year and the remaining devices are set to be installed by 2011.

As the center receives feeds from more cameras, police officials intend to begin using "smart software" that would alert personnel to potential threats such as abandoned luggage and dangerous vehicles.

Pairs of cameras placed on 30 police cars are already capturing images of license plates on moving and stationary vehicles and sending the numbers to a computer database of vehicles involved in criminal activities. An additional 96 cameras are expected to be installed at fixed points to help police follow suspicious vehicles around the city.

"I believe we'll have the safest business district in the world," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at the site.

The security system was partially inspired by a similar operation in London, AP reported (Tom Hays, Associated Press/Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 19).

November 19, 2008
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New York City police opened a new counterterrorism center in Manhattan's financial district this month that is set at some point to monitor data from radiological and biological threat sensors installed around the island and its connecting bridges and tunnels, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Nov. 29, 2007).