Archiving NYC traffic camera footage


Holding the police accountable requires witnessing, recording, and sharing footage of their wrongdoing. Inspired by Darnella Frazier, whose recording of George Floyd’s murder sparked a global movement, we are archiving NYC traffic camera footage with help from the NYC Mesh community to make it easier for the public to identify police misconduct.

If you experience or hear about a policing incident, you can request footage from the archive.

Why archive traffic camera footage?

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) provides public access to live streams of its traffic cameras on its website, but it does not make recorded data available. But if the government can access all of this footage to monitor citizens then we should have access to monitor the police.

Currently, to witness and document an incident using the DOT footage, you have to be watching the right camera at the right time and be ready to take a screenshot. The archive makes it possible to review footage after an event has taken place. By making this resource available to the public, we are providing another source of visual evidence.

How to request footage

  1. Check to see if there is a DoT traffic camera near the site of the incident location by following this link and zooming in to the incident location area. Please note that we will only be responding to requests involving police misconduct, and currently our archive is limited to cameras in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
  2. If you see a camera near the incident location, you may file an archive request for the footage you need.
  3. The leadership team will respond to your request.

Join our community is maintained and developed by volunteers. We use the NYC Mesh Slack workspace as our collaboration platform and currently meet weekly on Tuesday evenings on a video call. Please feel welcome to join us!

Notable Events

9/19/2020 police crackdown on TSQ anti-ICE protest

Read more about our project

We’ve Created a Public Archive of NYC’s Surveillance Footage (NYC Mesh Blog)

NYC Camera Archive Update: (NYC Mesh Blog)

Activists Are Using Traffic Cameras to Track Police Brutality (Vice / Motherboard)

Activists are trying to track incidents of police misconduct (Business Insider)

(Japanese) Good Morning Japan feature on documenting police brutality (NHK Japan)