Perched high above a busy intersection a police crime camera sits at the ready. But a city watchdog claims there's only about a 50-50 chance it is actually working.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz, in an audit released Wednesday, says taxpayers shelled out $13.9 million for the program, but only 114 of the 216 cameras work.
He says the price tag to taxpayers is $136,000 per working camera. He also showed boxes of camera parts sitting unused.
The controller says, "The city has spent $13.9 million on 100 cameras when we said it would be 200 cameras, and we could have put 200 police on the street."
Voters signed off on the use of video surveillance to fight crime back in 2006. Since then, cameras have been tied to poles in high-crime communities.
The mayor's office Wednesday pushed back, claiming Butkovitz was "wrong" on the claim of $136,000 per working camera.
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison, who oversees the program, says Butkovitz's numbers are old. He says a new contractor has been brought in fix the system, and now 70 percent of the cameras are on the look out.
Gillison says, "Since April 1, and it is only June, we have doubled the cameras working. I think that is actually a success story, not a failure."
Taxpayers seem to want the crime-fighting bang for the big bucks they're spending.