PHILADELPHIA – Is the Nutter Administration doing enough to expand its use of surveillance cameras to deter crime? That’s what City Council members will be looking at during a hearing later today. Administration officials are not taking part.

Today’s hearing was called by Council President Darrell Clarke, who along with several other council members visited Baltimore last month to see how that city has ramped up its crime camera program. Clarke says one reason Baltimore has more extensive surveillance is that the city has tapped into hundreds of private cameras at colleges, hospitals and businesses.

“Baltimore showed us how you can more comprehensively have a system that works utilizing the resources that you currently have, and taking opportunities that utilize a public/private partnership.”

Philadelphia, Clarke says, should do the same. “There are cameras throughout the city of Philadelphia, in stores, in businesses, in institutions. We simply have to figure out a way to have that partnership that allows us to utilize the feed from their cameras.”

Philadelphia has 200 surveillance cameras, while Baltimore has more than 600. And Clarke says Baltimore has retired police officers monitoring the live feeds, so criminals can often be literally caught in the act.

“When they get a 911 call, that camera automatically comes on line to a person who is actually monitoring that particular camera. That’s a very important step,” says Clarke...