WASHINGTON – District of Columbia officials have put cameras on light poles, police cars, and government buildings. Now they’re preparing to put them on street sweepers in the latest example of increasing surveillance of city residents, according to the Washington Times newspaper.
The D.C. Council just passed legislation introduced at the request of Mayor Adrian Fenty that will let officials equip the District’s tractor-sized street-sweeping machines with cameras that can scan license plates and photograph vehicles illegally parked in a street-sweeping zone.
The bill will face a final vote by the council next month and would expand the District’s automated enforcement network that already monitors red-light running and speeding. The city also operates 74 surveillance cameras affixed to light poles and buildings in neighborhoods as part of an effort to deter crime.
Scheduled street-cleaning service takes place weekly in every city ward except for Ward 3, and it is temporarily suspended during winter. Signs prohibit parking along curbs during a two-hour window while the service occurs, and violators caught by the cameras will receive a $30 citation in the mail.
Linda Grant, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW), which operates the street-sweeping program, said the legislation will provide the agency with an added tool to clean streets without obstruction and rid neighborhoods of trash and toxins, according to the Washington Times.
The cameras will cost roughly $40,000 each and will be placed on two street sweepers initially. Warning notices will be issued during the first 45 days of the program. If 20 percent of motorists violate regulations against parking in blocks marked for street sweeping in a given month, the city will collect about $213,000 in additional monthly revenue.