The Newark Police Department has opened to the public feeds from dozens of closed-circuit cameras around the city. Police have asked viewers to assist the force by watching the video feeds and reporting anything suspicious, according to The New York Times and other news outlets. 

The program is called the Citizen Virtual Patrol and is being billed as a move toward transparency in the city, where racial animosity and claims of aggressive enforcement have long plagued the police force. 

Since the program started in April with 62 cameras, 1,600 users have signed onto the website, according to a city official, and residents have been lobbying the department to add more cameras to the neighborhoods.

While the program is well-intentioned, it is not without its critics. Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates argue it could be detrimental to unsuspecting people and give stalkers and burglars a powerful tool for tracking their targets. Some also argue that relying on untrained civilians who may have biases of their own could lead to problems. 

More than 100 additional cameras are expected to be added to the program in the coming months, and eventually the video will be accessible from a smartphone app. While several citizen viewers have made calls to police, none have led to arrests so far. 

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