NY’s new Domain Awareness System uses surveillance camera, radiation monitors, license plate readers and more to monitor and prevent potential acts of terrorism and other crimes. Privacy advocates are calling it excessive and intrusive. The ACLU recommends a civilian agency monitor the system to ensure it’s not abused.
A more low tech instance of police surveillance goes back to the early 1990s. NYC Transit Police officer Jack Maple created a detailed map of subway stations. With crayons and butcher paper, he drew a replica of NYC’s transit system, mapping out crimes and noting whether they were solved or unsolved. He called them “charts of the future,” because it was an attempt to predict where new crimes would occur. Later, when William Bratton became head of Transit Police, he used the maps to deploy officers.