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Reports reveals number of CitiWatch cameras don't work, renewing concerns

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 18:56:10-04

BALTIMORE — There’s renewed concern after an audit of the Baltimore Police Department released shows a number of Baltimore's CitiWatch cameras haven’t been functioning properly for more than a year.

One man told WMAR-2 News it’s a problem the city can’t afford to leave unresolved as crime overloads officers.

A deadly triple shooting Sunday, another murder on Monday, an officer dragged by a repeat violent offender Tuesday and a stand-off with that same suspect bleeding into Wednesday afternoon, it's a trend of violence, this week alone, Baltimore police are struggling with.

CitiWatch camera catches Baltimore violence

A report from the office of legislative audits finds that a percentage of the cameras present when officers can’t be –simply don't work.

MORE: 'That’s an extra eye': CitiWatch camera improvements crucial to curbing crime

City council discusses crime and Citiwatch video cameras

It found, after a review of the CitiWatch program, 12% of the 830 city-managed cameras were not functional.

“This is an urgent issue for some people in the community,” said Stephan Henley.

RELATED: Baltimore Police officers 'not always in compliance with body-worn camera policy requirement,' audit shows

Resident discusses CitiWatch use

It’s a critique he’s been vocal about before the report came down.

Henley taken matters in his own hands to ensure his neighbors are equipped with cameras that see beyond the city’s watch.

MORE: 12 new Citiwatch cameras expected to go online by the end of November

He shared a video of a shooting within the last month from his Ring camera where you can see and hear the shots ringing out.

Seconds later, a wounded victim ran for his life through a nearby alley.

That’s just one of the instances in his neighborhood captured on camera.

“We're along the whole spectrum, as far as the type of activity that we see here," Henley said. "We're seeing murders. We're seeing vandalisms. We're seeing houses being broken into, arsons. We see the whole spectrum."

The report concluded there’s a chance much of it goes unseen, saying the CitiWatch program did not track camera uptime (the time cameras were functioning properly and did not have procedures to ensure broken cameras were repaired in a timely manner).

WMAR-2 reached out the mayor's office of safety and neighborhood engagement, who according to the report is responsible for fiscal activity, oversight and strategic direction of CitiWatch.

It said they manage and allocate funds for the program, approve all projects including installation, removal and upgrades, and execute agreements with third parties.

MONSE staffers responded to WMAR-2 News' questions, saying it does not have oversight over the CitiWatch camera system adding its the city’s office of information and technology that oversees the camera system.

WMAR-2 News reached out to Baltimore CIT and have not yet heard back.