New Orleans Police New Surveillance Initiative

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Mar 14, 2014

New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and big band music, but it’s also known for being home to one of the most disastrous surveillance projects. The city spent $10 million on a system that sits stagnant [link no longer available] but is still costing taxpayers thousands of dollars per year. Where the city failed, citizens have tried to fill the gaps, working to increase the number of private cameras.

Now, the city is trying to leverage the increase in private cameras in a new initiative.

In this note, we share details from our discussions with the New Orleans Police Department.

SafeCam NOLA

The website for SafeCam NOLA went online March 12, 2014. The project is a joint effort between the New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation [link no longer available], a law enforcement advocacy group. They want owners to register private surveillance cameras so police know where they look for footage after a crime occurs.

To be a part of the project camera owners agree to three rules:

  • “Any footage containing or related to criminal activity may be collected by the New Orleans Police Department for use as evidence during any stage of a criminal proceeding.”
  • Camera owners are not to “construe that they are acting as an agent and/or employee of the City of New Orleans and/or the New Orleans Police Department through the SafeCam program.”
  • And if footage is needed for an investigation, the police department can contact an owner directly about getting it.

NOPD are not ready to release numbers on how many people have signed up, but the site had 100 unique visitors on its first day, according to the Police and Justice Foundation. 

New Orleans vs. Philadelphia

The site was modeled after Philadelphia’s SafeCam project, officials say. Both projects aim to leverage public cameras and ironically, both cities have massively expensive surveillance projects that are burning through money.

However, the main difference between the two projects is that Philadelphia is actually paying residents to install cameras.

The city set aside $400,000 and used it to pay businesses up to half the cost of installing a surveillance system that would be registered with the Philly SafeCam program. In addition to providing funding, the city also provided minimum specs the businesses had to meet to get the funding.

“We’re not there yet,” said Nathaniel Weaver, senior project manager at the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, but he said citizens with existing cameras are often the ones to help others pick their systems.

For now the focus is on informing residents about the site and getting cameras registered. There will be upcoming campaigns, including presentations by police at community meetings.

The police hope to build a database similar to SafeCams8 [link no longer available], an effort by the French Quarter Management District in partnership with the police department, to register all of the private cameras in the French Quarter. There are more than 1,300 cameras registered so far.

Police Don't Monitor the Status of the Cameras

Police don't have plans to collect information beyond the camera owner's contact information and the address of the camera. It is not required to report the make, model and maintenance status of the cameras or the system.

"From what we’ve seen so far, residents and businesses do a good job at keeping their equipment functional as they see it as providing a valuable service to the community," said NOPD spokesman Benjamin Hammond referring to past instances the agency has needed to pull video. "No need for fines or site inspections." 

He said SafeCam would not replace the police canvassing the area for additional cameras.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Who Pulls the Footage

If a crime does occur and they feel a camera may have evidence, NOPD will first ask the owner of the system to export the footage rather than seizing a system or exporting it themselves.

"We’ve haven’t run into problems in the past. Residents and businesses usually don’t have trouble exporting the data themselves. If they do, we have some tech savvy detectives that can step in," Hammond said.

Limited Impact

For now it looks like the impact of SafeCam NOLA will be limited to providing police a reference for where to find cameras after a crime. There are no plans to review images in real time.

Citizen Efforts

Project NOLA, a New Orleans non-profit's effort to increase private cameras, is one of the more interesting and potentially useful attempts in the U.S. to deal with the cost and complexity of centrally managed systems.

Comments (0) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
The Booming Multi-Billion Coronavirus Fever Camera Market on Apr 21, 2020
The market for elevated body temperature detection cameras, aka 'coronavirus...
IronYun AI Analytics Tested on Feb 17, 2020
Taiwan / US startup IronYun has raised tens of millions for its "mission to...
The Next Hot Fever Detection Trend - $100 Wall-Mounted Units on Jul 06, 2020
The first wave of the booming fever detecting market was $10,000+ cameras,...
London Live Police Face Recognition Visited on Feb 13, 2020
London police have officially begun using live facial recognition in select...
Verkada Coronavirus Response: Free Temp Systems For Government and Health Care on Apr 07, 2020
Verkada has built a reputation on giving away things for free - free Yeti...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
ADI Sales Down 21% in April on May 14, 2020
ADI sales were down 21% in April, the company disclosed, as the pandemic hits...
Integrated IR Camera Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 30, 2020
The best and worst cameras tested in this IPVM shootout showed major...
Latest London Police Facial Recognition Suffers Serious Issues on Feb 24, 2020
On February 20, IPVM visited another live face rec deployment by London...
Cisco Video Surveillance Is Dead, Long Live Cisco Meraki Video Surveillance on Feb 11, 2020
A dozen years ago much of the industry thought that Cisco was destined to...
Mobotix Thermal Detection Camera Tested on Jun 09, 2020
For years Mobotix has struggled but now sales are surging driven by Mobotix's...
Anixter Runs Fake Coronavirus Marketing Using Shutterstock Watermarked Images on Jul 24, 2020
Coronavirus faked marketing is regrettably commonplace right now but Anixter...
Coronavirus Hits Manufacturers, Standing Now, Worse To Come on Apr 06, 2020
Coronavirus is hitting security manufacturers, though overall modestly for...
YOLOv5 Released Amidst Controversy on Jul 27, 2020
YOLO has gained significant attention within video surveillance for its...

Recent Reports

SIA Coaches Sellers on NDAA 889B Blacklist Workarounds on Aug 05, 2020
Last month SIA demanded that NDAA 899B "must be delayed". Now that they have...
ADI Returns To Growth, Back To 'Pre-COVID Levels' on Aug 05, 2020
While ADI was hit hard in April, with revenue declining 21%, the company's...
Exposing Fever Tablet Suppliers and 40+ Relabelers on Aug 05, 2020
IPVM has found 40+ USA and EU companies relabeling fever tablets designed,...
Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...
Directory of 200 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Dahua Loses Australian Medical Device Approval on Aug 04, 2020
Dahua has cancelled its medical device registration after "discussions" with...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...
US GSA Explains NDAA 889 Part B Blacklisting on Jul 31, 2020
With the 'Blacklist Clause' going into effect August 13 that bans the US...
Access Control Online Show July 2020 - On-Demand Recording of 45+ Manufacturers Presentations on Jul 30, 2020
The show featured 48 Access Control presentations, all now recorded and...
Face Detection Shootout - Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jul 30, 2020
Face detection analytics are available from a number of manufactures...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...