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After 9 p.m., a man was shot in the leg along the 2200 block of Champlain Street NW* in Adams Morgan. Why is this such a big deal? Because a D.C. Police crime camera allegedly caught all the action. This could be the first time police cameras actually provided useful footage. We have argued that the cameras are essentially useless as crime-fighting tools.

Here’s what we reported last year:

“The department’s network of more than 120 cameras has been shooting the moon since installation of the first units began more than eight years ago at no trivial cost to the taxpayer. The District has invested $3.8 million in neighborhood crime cameras like the one at 15th and East Capitol and another $2.4 million in its Synchronized Operation Command Center, according to a budget report for fiscal 2009. In 2008, the city also benefited from $630,000 in Department of Homeland Security grant funds for camera replacements and $260,000 from Target Corp. to begin installation of 30 cameras in the Trinidad neighborhood.

And for what? ‘I’m not aware of any cases yet in which [surveillance footage] has actually been used in a prosecution,’ says U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Channing Phillips. ‘In some instances they’ve been helpful in the investigative stage.'”

D.C. Police would not confirm whether or not a crime camera captured last night’s shooting on tape.

*the shooting took place one block from Washington City Paper‘s headquarters. It appears that the shooting is unrelated to our website’s redesign, its new salmon color, or larger font size.

File photo by Darrow Montgomery.

(Hat tip: DCist)