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Lancaster cameras, like Boston's, keep eye on crime - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster cameras, like Boston's, keep eye on crime

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) -

Investigators relied on surveillance video to identify the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. A midstate city has a similar, sophisticated surveillance setup to monitor the streets.

In Lancaster, there are more than 160 surveillance cameras that are run and monitored by the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition. The cameras roll 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

abc27 News got a sneak peek inside the control room where all of the cameras are monitored. The safety coalition is an independent organization that runs surveillance on 60 percent of the city.

A supervisor monitors the cameras by listening to police scanner traffic and following along if a crime is unfolding in view of the cameras. Sometimes, the supervisor will see crime happen before anyone else does and will be the person to call 911.

There have also been several instances when Lancaster police will ask to see video of a crime afterward to help with investigations. That video is often used to identify suspects, just like investigators did in Boston.

Regardless of how the surveillance is used, officials said the cameras should put the people of Lancaster at ease.

"Citizens in Lancaster can feel safer as a result of the cameras. There is nothing foolproof, but the fact that we have cameras I think serves as a deterrent to someone who wants to try to commit a crime," said Wes Farmer, managing director of the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition.

Farmer also said the cameras are only there to help protect, not invade privacy. Cameras do not record voices or inside homes.

Lancaster Community Safety Coalition is a non-profit organization and is in need of donations to keep running and monitoring surveillance. Go to www.LancasterCSC.org to find out how to help.

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