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$150K to remove Seattle’s unused public surveillance cameras

Surveillance cameras were controversial when they were installed in Seattle in 2013. They were never used and taken down in 2018. (AP Photo/File)

They never got their shot at snapping shots around Seattle, but these surveillance cameras are coming down anyway and it will cost the city.

“We’ve budgeted $150,000 for this project,” said Megan Erb with Seattle’s IT department. “Each removal is different depending on how the equipment was installed; some will be easier to remove than others, thus making them less expensive than the ones that are a little more complicated to remove.”

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Erb said that the total cost of the camera removal throughout Seattle — 28 in all — won’t be known until the job is done.

The West Seattle Blog reports that the Seattle Police Department installed the surveillance cameras in 2013 with a grant from the Homeland Security Department. But after the community objected, they were never used. They were installed during the Mayor Mike McGinn era, and sat idle during the Ed Murray era. Crews began taking them down this past week.

WSB explains that the cameras were proposed for port security, but ended up being placed in public parks and residential areas, too.

Bellevue-based Prime Electric has been contracted to remove the cameras. The ones in West Seattle have been taken down already. Other surveillance cameras in Magnolia and Golden Gardens are also being removed. There are more than a dozen in the downtown area stated for removal.

The security cameras are expected to be turned over to the Seattle Department of Transportation to be used for traffic monitoring.

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