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Lower Manhattan Security Web Expanding to Midtown

 The initiative will include private-sector participation.

A $24 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is going to expand New York’s current network of security cameras, license plate readers, and weapons sensors to the North.

Bloomberg Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Sunday that the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative will grow to include Midtown Manhattan—specifically, from 30th Street on up to 60th Street, from the East River to the Hudson.

“The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative was designed to bring together the private and public sectors to protect the economic heart of the nation,” Kelly said. “The awarding of this grant enables us to begin extending its scope to a large swath of Midtown, where the same technologies and partnership at work in the Financial District will be brought to bear on interests and infrastructure there.”

Conceived in 2005, the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative consists primarily of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, license plate readers, and chemical, biological, and radiological sensors with the goal of detecting terrorist threats and deterring pre-operational surveillance. When fully operational, it will include data from several thousand cameras, a significant portion of which are provided by private companies in the finance, banking, commerce, transportation, and telecommunications industries. Plans for the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative also include traffic control systems to be used in the event of a threat or other emergency.

The initiative will also identify additional private organizations who will work alongside NYPD personnel in the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, where corporate and other security representatives from Lower Manhattan have been co-located with police since June 2009. The Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center is the central hub for both initiatives, where all the collected data are analyzed.

So far, the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative covers Canal Street to Battery Park from river to river, a 1.7-square-mile area in which the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Reserve, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, World Financial Centers, World Trade Center memorial site, PATH train and numerous major financial institutions.

Last month, the Bloomberg campaign (he faces re-election Nov. 3) proposed additional facial recognition technology in New York as well as other security measures including a footwear database and cellphone tracking.