Toronto wraps up municipal surveillance pilot project

Next step for city will be to analyze the effectiveness of the system


A $2 million pilot project that put surveillance cameras in at-risk neighbourhoods across the city wraps up New Year's Eve.

Over the next few months, a team of outside experts will be analyzing the data and compiling a report on the effectiveness of the cameras in reducing and investigating crime.

That report will be presented to the police services board and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in late winter or early spring 2009, said Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash.

From there, the board will decide whether the project, funded by the province, will continue.

"As a general rule, (closed circuit television) images are one of the first things detectives look for when investigating a crime. And there have been a number of cases where footage has created quite dramatic results," Pugash said.

He highlighted the March 14 shooting death of 18-year-old Abdikarim Ahmed Abdikarim, who was shot outside a housing complex near Yorkdale Mall. Detailed footage was caught on two cameras.

Police posted that footage on YouTube and within weeks, three people were charged in connection with the shooting.

Cameras rolled out across the city in six-month deployments in April 2007.

Over the past 18 months, cameras have rotated between four divisions.

The last cameras were removed from 14 Division - the Bathurst St. and Queen St. W. area - at the end of October, but the project officially ends tomorrow.