More than 8,000 cameras on the streets of NYC are used by police to find suspects

An NYPD officer looks at surveillance film.
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

When it came time to identify a suspect in Saturday night's explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, investigators turned to several of the 8,000 cameras that constantly record what's happening across New York City.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, surveillance cameras were added in lower Manhattan, inspired by the "Ring of Steel" in London's financial district, developed in the 1990s. Over time, the security initiative has grown to include more than 8,000 cameras across several neighborhoods, focusing on streets, subways, train and bus stations, tunnels, and bridges. "That's the world we're living in now," New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said during a press conference Monday. "Any street, any incident in New York City you get to — most of the time — that gets captured on video surveillance." It's possible new technology could be added soon; former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said Monday the NYPD is looking at "street light technology, where you could put literally in every street light a camera system."

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