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After Boston Blasts, SFPD Chief Wants Cameras On Market Street

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) -- In the wake of the Boston bombings, San Francisco's police chief wants more security cameras along a major thoroughfare that hosts parades and other big events.

Chief Greg Suhr said additional cameras on Market Street would give police extra eyes during such major events, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Monday.

The San Francisco Giants held their 2010 and 2012 World Series victory parades along the street that also serves as the starting point for the city's wacky Bay-to-Breakers footrace.

Popular parades celebrating Chinese New Year and gay pride also go down Market Street, which carries electric trolleys, a popular tourist attraction.

On Friday, scores of bicyclists are expected to trek through the street during the city's monthly "Critical Mass" bike ride.

Suhr plans to float the idea for the extra security cameras at an upcoming City Hall hearing called by Supervisor Eric Mar.

"We'd like to have more so we could have a continuous operating picture of all Market Street," Suhr said. "That's where all of our parades are. That's where all of our events are."

Suhr said there are numerous private security cameras on the street, but police want more surveillance.

"For us, it would be great that every time we had a major event we had a command post where you could have a bank of video cameras on top of having all the police and public eyes and ears that are out there," Suhr said.

Suhr's proposal, however, is raising questions from the American Civil Liberties Union about privacy and freedom of speech.

"We're going to let the chief know about our concerns," said Nicole Ozer, an attorney with the San Francisco-based ACLU of Northern California. "We want to know specifically how they are going to be used, how long will the footage be kept, and how he's going to make sure the cameras protect the rights to privacy and free speech."

San Francisco already has cameras situated in high-crime areas. Those, however, are only reviewed after a crime has occurred.

The proposal came after surveillance camera footage released by the FBI showed the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 180 others.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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