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NYC Mulling 'Sweeper Cams' To Catch Alternate Side Parking Violators

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They're catching red light runners and bus lane violators, but now New York City may use cameras to ticket people who disobey alternate side parking regulations.

As CBS 2's Tony Aiello reports, reactions are mixed to the proposed "sweeper cams."

There are 200 street sweepers on New York City streets, equipped with brushes and spray nozzles. Someday, they may also be outfitted with cameras to catch and ticket cars that violate alternate side parking rules.

"It's another way to use technology," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "Street cleaning is something we have to do, and the only way to do it is if people move their cars."

Bloomberg said it's worth a try, so he's asking the state to approve a pilot project to put cameras on 25 street sweepers. He said it's the next step in technology that's already in use.

License plate readers are being employed by a growing number of police departments. The readers are mounted on vehicles and connected to computers that scan and isolate plate numbers.

Just like red-light cameras, so-called "sweeper cams" would record a violation and generate a ticket that would be mailed to the vehicle's registered owner.

In a city with untold thousands of surveillance cameras, the sweeper cam plan seems okay to many – but not all.

"I'm okay with that, but some people will say Big Brother's looking at us," Marie Williams, of Harlem, said.

"It works for me," East Harlem resident Pete Boyko said. "They seem to be helping out otherwise with crime – why not with parking?"

"On the whole, I prefer dealing with people – except when it comes to ticket agents!" Adrian Teiemann, of the Upper West Side, said.

"That's ridiculous," another resident said. "Concentrate on something more important!"

The proposal was not sitting well with the sanitation enforcement union, which said it fears the cameras will sweep away ticket agent jobs.

The administration said it doesn't plan on cutting any jobs if the sweeper camera plan is approved.

Should street sweepers also be policing parking? Sound off in our comments section below…

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