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Police cameras installed near gaybourhood

Toronto police have installed seven surveillance cameras near Toronto’s Church-Wellesley neighbourhood.

The cameras went into operation on Halloween and will be in place for at least six months. They are located at the corners of Dundas St E and Pembroke St, Dundas St E and George St, George St and Gerrard St E, Sherbourne St and Shuter St, Sherbourne St and Queen St E and two at Dundas St E and Sherbourne St.

The area, just south of Allan Gardens, is known for a brisk drug trade.

Police spokesperson Mark Pugash says 51 Division, which polices the area, had to go through a rigorous review process to get approval for the cameras.

“Divisions that want cameras have to go through crime patterns analysis,” he says. “They have to explain the nature of the crimes, what they’ve tried, what the cameras might be able to accomplish.”

Pugash would not detail what police are most interested in seeing in the area.

The project is funded by the Ontario government as part of an ongoing study of video surveillance cameras in Toronto. The study will end in April when police submit a report to the Police Services Board, the body that oversees police operations.

There are other cameras in the eastern and northern parts of Toronto and in the Entertainment District.

Pugash says the cameras are clearly marked and are not continuously monitored. He says officers may request recordings if they think it will help in a criminal investigation otherwise the video is recorded over after 72 hours. He says the cameras are limited so as not to record private residences.