Big Brother Cameras Keep Watchful Eye In Bricktown

Friday, July 29th 2011, 9:17 pm
By: News 9

Michael Konopasek, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Whether walking along the canal or enjoying the plaza's fountain in Bricktown, you cannot hide from the watchful eye of big brother. There are several hundred cameras.

In late July, News 9 reported on the police cracking down on crime and curfews in Bricktown, but did you know there are eyes in the sky allowing police to keep a closer watch over what's going on?

"There are probably about a dozen intersections in the Bricktown area and each intersection has about three to four cameras plus the Riverwalk," said Major Ed Hill of the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Hill is the head of the police force in Bricktown. He says the rest of the downtown has many cameras as well from as far west as the police station, to the convention center and back east to Bricktown.

With large crowds, especially on the Independence Day holiday, police say the cameras help them solve crimes, prevent crimes and respond effectively.

"You can't physically move when it's congested between point A and point B, but with the cameras, you can switch to these locations and direct your resources appropriately," said Hill.

Cameras allow officers to monitor traffic during large events so they can send cars from busy intersections to areas of town with not much traffic.

"The biggest single use we get out of the cameras is for traffic control," said Hill.

Some Bricktown visitors were a little leery of the cameras keeping an eye on traffic.

"I'd be scared if I ran a red light," laughed one pedestrian. "I don't want a ticket."

People we spoke with had mixed reactions about the cameras.

"I think it's keeping the citizens safe, so, I think it's good," said one man.

Not everyone shared the same sentiment.

"It's just kind of weird to think someone is always knowing what you're saying, what you're doing and where you're going," said one woman.

Police say there is not someone monitoring the cameras at all times, but all officers have access to the cameras with a click of a button on their squad car laptops.

Police say cameras are only located in the public right of way, where they can legally record. The cameras have been in the area for about eight years. Police say new ones are added as the city budget allows.