New York police launch high-tech surveillance

New York police on Wednesday launched what officials say is a revolutionary camera surveillance system that will simultaneously scan the streets and call up data on suspects.

The Domain Awareness System, developed with Microsoft, "is an innovative tool that has the potential to revolutionize law enforcement, intelligence and public safety operations," the mayor's office said.

Unlike simpler camera surveillance networks, the new system instantly gives officers massive amounts of information about what they are monitoring.

It "aggregates and analyzes existing public safety data streams in real time, providing NYPD investigators and analysts with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity," the office said.

For example, officers watching crime suspects via a live video feed will also immediately see arrest records, related crimes in the area and other data that could build a portrait of the individual under scrutiny.

Cars linked to a suspect can be analyzed so that investigators know where it has been for months, while officers will also be able to rewind footage tracing who left any suspicious package.

"The system is a transformative tool because it was created by police officers for police officers," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the "cutting edge" system "capitalizes on new, powerful policing software that allows police officers and other personnel to more quickly access relevant information gathered from existing cameras, 911 calls, previous crime reports and other existing tools and technology."

About 3,000 cameras are connected to the Domain Awareness System. The majority are in the financial and business districts of Manhattan, where most of the city's skyscrapers are located, but the network is being expanded to other parts of New York.

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