Friday, April 2, 2010

On Cameras and Crime

Do cameras deter crime? Do cameras help solve crimes?

I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when I learned that the police had arrested the alleged shooters of the retired fireman who was killed and left on the street with his dog guarding over him. The police credited these arrests with the use of surveillance cameras in the area. Without the cameras guidance, the police may never have discovered the perpetrators of this crime.

It's not too surprising that in light of this news and the recent rash of homicides in the city (including the innocent bystander that got killed by a stray bullet in Homewood last week) that Mayor Ravenstahl is renewing the charge for more cameras on our streets. With federal stimulus money still up for grabs it should be a no-brainer to put in a request for more funding. Of course, given the city administration's track record for incomplete and late stimulus requests, it's lucky for them that Carnegie Mellon has joined forces in the city's request. After last week, when a student was pepper-sprayed and robbed on Ellsworth Avenue, the pricey university has plenty of reason to be step up security.

Some may express concern that more cameras are an invasion of our privacy. I agree, which is why I favor strong regulations on the storage of any footage. But when teenagers are killing people in our streets, strong measures need to be taken. It's up to the judges and our laws to make sure that the information stored on our cameras isn't abused.

No comments: