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Everybody Has Cool Cameras

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, April 04, 2005, at 03:54PM
ATSAC Center Eric Richardson [Flickr]

This morning as part of a class field trip I got to see the ATSAC headquarters under City Hall East. ATSAC, or Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control, is responsible for managing about 3100 of the city's 4000+ signalized intersections. A couple little tidbits I found interesting:

  • They know within a second if a signal goes into flash mode (flashing red instead of the normal cycle)
  • Though ATSAC has sophisticated methods for changing light cycles based on traffic load, they don't use any of that Downtown. The short blocks would throw off the timing of progressive lights.
  • Though their traffic cameras have amazing zoom capabilities, ATSAC by policy does no policing work and their camera footage isn't admissible in court.

I would assume the police surveilance cameras now being installed in the Fashion District (end of the story) are similar in quality.

The LAPD's Acosta knows it's not legit, either, and he's got a powerful new tool to help combat the shady trade. The department recently installed two $10,000 cameras so powerful they can read license plates from four blocks away to watch the bustling Fashion and Toy Districts, with eight more on the way. From the fortress-like Central Division station, they can identify and record illicit transactions before dispatching officers to arrest the vendors.

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