Police in Miami are moving forward with plans to place about 400 new security cameras throughout the metro area.
The move will allow authorities to monitor the city through a high-tech command center with up to 200 closed-circuit television screens, The Miami Herald reported on Sunday.
The cameras would be attached on rooftops, street poles and existing red light cameras. The news system will cost about $700,000, but half of the expense will be covered by federal anti-terrorism funds, the newspaper reported.
New York and London have similar systems and mounted cameras helped identify the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has criticized the plan, especially the use of facial-recognition technology.
Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said similar plans in Tampa and Oakland have failed. He said Tampa dismantled its facial recognition system after ACLU complaints and too many false positives.
"The claim that out in public you have a reduced expectation of privacy is an abused standard by police," Simon said.
Plans for the Miami surveillance system include ShotSpotter, a network of censors and GPS signals that are placed on strategic rooftops. The device is activated when it hears an impulse of noises. If the noise hits three censors, the technology can pinpoint where the noise is coming from within 10 meters.
The system has been criticized by some law enforcement agencies for misidentifying some sounds as gunshots.
But Miami police Chief Manuel Orosa said ShotSpotter will help the city fight crime.
Orosa said he plans to place between eight and 10 cameras linked to his command center, adjacent to censors. When a censor detects gunfire it is relayed back to police in less than 30 seconds.
"Some of these cameras will be attached next to the ShotSpotter so that the shots go out, we put the camera on and we see exactly what's going on," Orosa said.
Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who heads up the Downtown Development Agency, which oversees economic development in Miami's downtown neighborhoods around Flagler Street, said he supports the system.
"Anything we can do to help catch criminals is something I think we should do," Sarnoff said.