LAPD to expand police cameras in public housing projects

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The Los Angeles City Council this week approved the extension of a $700,000 federal grant for police video cameras at a South L.A. housing project.

When they went in two years ago, the 10 video cameras perched on polls and rooftops angered people who live in the Jordan Downs public housing project.

“Initially, they were somewhat less than receptive," said LAPD Captain Thomas McDonald.

McDonald told the City Council that many people in the 700-unit complex wondered whether police were peering into their private lives.

Thomas said police agreed to move some cameras, and in the last six months he credits them with helping make 15 drug arrests and nine robbery arrests.

Now, police want 10 more cameras in Jordan Downs, and new video systems in two other nearby housing projects – Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts.

“It is the wave of the future, but the future is now," said McDonald.

While the American Civil Liberties Union has raised concerns about the ever-expanding use of police cameras, it’s declined to challenge them in court.