How many security cameras are there in downtown Toronto?
How many security cameras are there in downtown Toronto? What happens to the footage? —Marie Kim, Birchcliff
The Toronto police have secured financing for 15 video cameras, designed to be mounted temporarily wherever they’re needed. In the past, cameras have been used to keep an eye on post-Caribana celebrations and Taste of the Danforth; most recently they monitored Yonge and Dundas a year after the Jane Creba shooting. But the cops aren’t huddled in a van staring at screens 24/7. Instead, the cameras store 72 hours of footage before recording over it, and the tape is only viewed if police think it contains something useful. (In the three weeks the Yonge Street cameras were up, they recorded a shooting near Gould Street.) And more cameras are coming. Not only are the police eager, but the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area is talking about bankrolling six cameras between Dundas and Gerrard later in the year. (Store owners often hand their own footage over to police voluntarily.) The TTC is also busy outfitting its stations with security cams, increasing the number per station from five or six to an average of 20 (bigger stations, such as Union, will sport up to 30). Some of those cameras—usually the ones watching automatic entrances—send live feeds to the collectors’ booths. But if you get the urge to put on a performance, the TTC would really prefer you head to Speakers Corner.