Toronto News | Weather & Traffic | CTV News Toronto
Police cameras watching entertainment district
More than a dozen police surveillance cameras have been erected in the city, with a majority of them watching over the entertainment district.
The closed-circuit cameras (CCTV) will record 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but police say they won't be watching the live feeds, only reviewing footage when an incident occurs.
"The cameras have two purposes: deter those who may be considering committing crime and provide evidence to identify, arrest and charge those who choose to commit crime," Deputy Chief Kim Derry said in a news release.
"(They) are not substitutes for police officers; they are designed to supplement officers' efforts."
The cameras are part of a six-month pilot program that followed nine public consultation meetings. Police also researched and analyzed the effectiveness of cameras in other jurisdictions such as the United States and England.
The electronic devices in Toronto are mounted to light poles and have large signs attached that notifies the public of their presence.
The other sets of cameras that began recording on Monday are in Scarborough's Malvern community and the Jane and Finch area.
Last year the provincial government gave the city $2 million to fund the project. Police have been erecting cameras on a temporary basis in various parts of the city to see how effective they are in deterring crime.
"The value of CCTV cameras has been demonstrated countless times in this city, leading to arrests in homicides, sexual assaults and armed robberies, and resulting in the rescue of abducted children," Derry said.
The entertainment district has been plagued with violent incidents, especially in the busy summer months.
The cameras were first used to keep an eye on parts of Yonge Street over the Christmas and New Year season.
Cameras kept a 24-hour vigil above the intersections of Yonge and Dundas, Gould and Gerrard streets for three weeks.
The cameras did catch a shooting on Yonge Street in late December when a 15-year-old boy was shot in the leg near a music store. Police used the videotapes as part of their investigation.
Last summer, the cameras also kept watch over the annual Caribana parade and activities.