Crime prevention comes with a price.

The new island-wide video surveillance system intended to deter and help solve crime in Bermuda features technology that identifies faces and vehicles and will cost about $111,000 per month to maintain, police announced yesterday.

More cameras

The project calls for all 86 CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras currently used by law enforcement on the island to be replaced. 

Additional cameras will also be installed to help provide more coverage. 

Police say there will ultimately be a system of about 150 cameras, which will “go live” on April 1.

“The system has been obsolete for a while,” said Acting Commissioner Mike Jackman during a late-morning Thursday press conference.

Mr. Jackman said the system was a “crime-fighting tool, not a big brother intrusion into the lives of law-abiding citizens”.

He said the system upgrade was two years in the making. 

BAS Group of Companies is the contractor charged with maintaining the system. That company has a five-year contract.

Bermuda joins the growing trend of jurisdictions throughout the world expanding and using video surveillance more and more for law-enforcement purposes. 

New York City

In New York City, for instance, the police department has a system linking 3,000 cameras with various terrorist and criminal databases, according to The New York Times. 

That paper also reports that in Oakland, California, $7 million worth of federal grants is being used for surveillance-based operations.

The United Kingdom has been dubbed a “surveillance state” by some for the prevalence of CCTV. 

According to The Telegraph, the UK has 5.9 million closed-circuit televisions in that country, which works out to one for every 11 people in the UK.