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NYC mayor studies London transit security

Associated Press / May 12, 2010

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LONDON — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Britain’s capital in a fact-finding mission yesterday less than two weeks after the thwarted Times Square bombing, visiting centers where analysts monitor a vast network of security cameras.

Bloomberg wants to ramp up the security camera network in New York City’s subways to mimic that in London’s underground train system. London authorities say the city’s train stations are watched by more than 12,000 cameras, and in a few years they aim to install a few thousand more. Officials say the additions would mean every person’s face would be recorded when they enter the subway system.

New York City has far fewer such cameras — about 4,000 along its subways — and Bloomberg has complained that half of them don’t work. Police, instead, have had to rely on regular patrols and random bag searches.

“Crime rates in both the subway systems in London and New York City are as low as you can get, but there’s always the threat of terrorism,’’ Bloomberg told reporters. “I am here to learn from others, see what works best, and try to fix things before they become a problem.’’

London has one of the world’s highest concentrations of surveillance cameras, with a ring of them encircling the central district. The network inspired a 3,000-camera network being installed in lower Manhattan and midtown New York.