LAPD to increase surveillance camera use at housing projects

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The Nickerson Gardens housing project in South Los Angeles. File photo.

Los Angeles plans to add 125 police cameras at public housing projects across the city.

The LAPD plans to place the cameras inside the Nickerson Gardens, Imperial Courts and Jordan Downs housing projects in South L.A., and the Ramona Gardens housing project in East L.A.

Police officers will periodically monitor them from nearby LAPD stations. Ten cameras will have license plate recognition technology.

The city’s using $7 million in federal stimulus dollars to pay for them.

At a press conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the “safety cameras” a “powerful law enforcement tool to deter crime.” That contrasted with one study that indicated ten cameras already in Jordan Downs have had little effect on crime. A spokesman for the mayor said crime’s down 40 percent in Jordan – and argued that’s in part because of the cameras.

The American Civil Liberties Union has called on the city to end the use of public cameras, saying they are a “threat” to privacy rights. The city's installed public cameras along Hollywood Boulevard and in MacArthur Park, among other places.

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