Baltimore Limiting Video Surveillance Storage

The reaction to the Baltimore Police Department’s decision to save video footage of Freddie Gray’s arrest led to a scale back of the city’s surveillance storage policies.

The Baltimore Police Department’s decision to save video surveillance footage of Freddie Gray’s arrest and the conflict that followed has drastically reduced the storage capacity of some of the cameras on the city’s closed-circuit system, reducing the window that police have to review footage to help with criminal investigations.

Storage capacity of some of the city’s 700 CitiWatch cameras has been reduced from 28 days to three, meaning that footage is erased after 72 hours unless police save it, Associated Press reports. The capacity of other cameras has been reduced to a lesser degree, according to officials.

Officials would not reveal how many cameras were affected and where they are located.

Authorities decided to cut some of the cameras’ video retention policy after examining their options. Officials opted not to copy information onto external hard drives or save footage to a cloud-based storage system because it would involve temporarily stopping the cameras from recording.

In the future, the city plans to purchase $140,000 worth of new hardware for long-term storage although it is unclear when that will actually happen.

Baltimore police have relied on CitiWatch camera footage to make arrests in more than 1,000 cases a year. The city currently spends about $1.8 million annually on camera system maintenance, paid for with state funds and private casino funds.

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