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Big Brother is watching on more city street corners

   The electronic eyes are watching.

   They're perched in 43 spots throughout the city … and will grow to 100 pairs of eyes by the end of the year.

   Buffalo's long-touted crime camera surveillance program is now up and running following what Mayor Byron W. Brown described as a successful eight-month trial period. Brown and Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson are convinced the high-tech devices will be powerful tools in fighting crime.

   Some block club leaders agree, saying they've already noticed fewer troublemakers on street corners where the devices have been installed.

   But some critics are skeptical. They point to studies suggesting that state-of-the-art surveillance devices have done little to curb violent crime in some cities. And they worry that the cameras might be used in ways that could violate the privacy of law-abiding citizens.

   The mayor and police commissioner repeatedly have assured residents that the cameras will not be used in ways that trample on people's privacy. The city has no desire to "play Big Brother," Gipson told reporters Tuesday as officials showed off a new surveillance monitoring room in police headquarters.

   What do you think about the new surveillance blitz?

   -- Brian Meyer

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