Don’t look up. If you're in Minnesota, you may be “live” on one of the 30,000 government surveillance cameras that security experts estimate to be mounted in the greater Twin Cities.

Not so slowly, but surely, metro cities and some government agencies are installing video technology capable of networking surveillance systems in a so-called ring of protection — and detection.

Some 25 metro area municipalities and two state agencies have deployed video surveillance systems that stream thousands of cameras watching city hall, municipal liquor stores, government buildings, transit hubs, police stations, highways and intersections.

Cities primarily use surveillance video to protect government property, prevent crime and prosecute offenders. The suburb of Brooklyn Center monitors 189 surveillance cameras trained on schools, a community center, a golf course and other city-operated facilities.

“We are trying to get video of who may be at the door entrances and exits in that perimeter around your building, and then some key locations inside the building, depending upon what the nature of our business unit is there,” said Patty Hartwig, information technology director for Brooklyn Center.

A  Minneapolis security convergence company called Pro-Tec Design has incorporated standardized software (Milestone) that gives cities and agencies the option of someday taking the next step, sharing surveillance video between communities and other levels of government.

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