New York's Lower Manhattan Security Initiative is one of the most comprehensive data-gathering surveillance systems in the United States. And with the failed bomb plot in Times Square this weekend, Mayor Mike Bloomberg reminded the public that the system is heading north into Midtown.
"Every day, 1,000 of our best officers are performing counter-terrorism and intelligence duties and the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative is the most advanced and comprehensive security effort anyplace in the world, and we’re working to bring those same tools to the protection of Midtown," he said.
Last fall, the city received a $24 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to extend the LMSI up the the area between 30th Street and 60th Street in Manhattan, which would include the Times Square area.
Conceived in 2005, the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative consists primarily of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, license plate readers, and chemical, biological, and radiological sensors with the goal of detecting terrorist threats and deterring pre-operational surveillance. When fully operational, it will include data from several thousand cameras, a significant portion of which are provided by private companies in the finance, banking, commerce, transportation, and telecommunications industries.
Bloomberg made security a cornerstone of his campaign for a third term as New York City Mayor, offering plans for facial recognition and additional measures such as a database of wrongdoers' footwear. He also launched undercover gun buys at gun shows in other states.
The LMSI resembles to some extent the massive data-gathering mechanisms in England, dubbed the "Ring of Steel" in London.
Police in New York were alerted to the not-so-sophisticated bomb in Times Square by a street vendor.
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