Tiny L.I. Village Plans Big Surveillance Arsenal

Long Island village employs a surveillance arsenal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kings Point police install 44 cameras at 19 intersections. (Published Wednesday, Apr 27, 2011)

    A tiny Long Island village shaken by a series of home invasions over the last year will now be adding to its surveillance arsenal.

    Kings Point plans to install 44 surveillance cameras at 19 intersections leading into and out of this village of three square miles.

    "We think the cameras will be a great crime-fighting tool," said John Miller, village police commissioner.

    The cameras will focus on vehicles' license plates, said Miller, and will help law enforcement determine instantly if the car is stolen or if its owner is a criminal or a terrorist.

    A "test" camera has been up and running for a year and a half, but village officials can't say when the others will be put in place.

    "The cameras are great.  They should have them all over," said one driver stopped near the lone surveillance camera in operation.

    "It's all a little big brother, if you ask me," said Mark Atlas, who was passing by the camera on a bicycle.

    The cost of the surveillance project will be $1 million, according to the Kings Point police commissioner.  That should translate into about $700 per family in this village of 5,300.

    The village board will discuss the project at a meeting planned for Wednesday night in village hall.

    Samantha Fredrickson, of the Nassau chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the planned project is an example of government invading people's privacy to track "where we are going and what we are doing."

    The camera images will be stored in several hard drives, but it's unclear for how long.  The policy for that has yet to be finalized, the police commissioner said.

    "We're not looking in anyone's backyards or windows," Miller added.  "It's a public street, with public traffic and that's all we're looking at."

    Kings Point's crime rate has historically been very low -- but during the last year, village residents have been rattled by a series of seven home invasions blamed on a single perpetrator who is still at large.