There is much debate on whether or not surveillance cameras should be installed in public places such as airports, schools, libraries, and stores. The line between privacy and security is thin and both sides can be argued.
Although so may feel like public surveillance is an invasion of privacy, laws that prohibit surveillance in public places are few and far between, and may be limited to geographical areas. For example, in New York, police may only use video surveillance footage as part of an investigation into the alleged criminals after obtaining a warrant from local authorities.
And remember, placing cameras in areas where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy (ex. bathrooms, changing rooms) is always prohibited.
Let’s look at the different pros and cons of public surveillance.
Pro: Increase Public Safety
Just like surveillance on our private property improves our home security, surveillance in public areas increases public safety. Public surveillance can aid in keeping you safe when you are out and about.
Public security cameras can keep an eye out for crimes as well as act as a deterrent. For example, if suspicious individuals are seen in an area, authorities may be able to get ahead of the situation and possibly move innocent bystanders out of harm’s way.
Pro: Reduce Crime Rate
According to statistics, after security cameras are installed, crimes rates drop. For example, crime rates in Humboldt Park dropped 20% after video surveillance was implemented. As previously mentioned, the presence of security cameras act as a deterrent as criminals do not want to risk getting caught on camera.
Pro: Helps Catch Criminals
For crimes committed where video surveillance is present, the chance of catching criminals is much higher. With advanced technology like facial recognition, security cameras may be able to better identify criminals, helping authorities to track them down. Also, these images and information may be shared with the public to help spread the word. It may be difficult to obtain eyewitness accounts, but with security cameras, you often have video evidence of the events that transpired.
Pro: Provide Evidence & Gather Clues
Along the same lines, surveillance footage can be used as evidence in the courtroom. On the other hand, video footage may also help to prove a person’s innocence. Either way, recordings of public areas can help provide clues to solve crimes, and may even provide solid evidence for criminal cases.
Convenience comes in the form of traffic cameras. Surveillance cameras at stoplights help to prevent drivers from speeding through a red light, while security cameras installed on streets and freeways can help to monitor traffic conditions in real-time.
Con: Easily Abused
Unfortunately, this helpful technology can be easily abused. For example, information collected from public cameras can potentially be used as a form of blackmail. Another example is voyeurism and stalking. To combat these issues, strict regulations on public surveillance must be put into place.
Con: Doubts About Effectiveness
In addition, many people doubt the effectiveness of public surveillance. While statistics may show that crimes and incident rates have decreased, security cameras are not as effective when it comes to horrific acts such as terrorism.
The cost of public security cameras is another issue. Since many doubt the effectiveness, they feel that public surveillance systems are a waste of money. They argue that high maintenance and costs of these systems is not justified by their limited results.
As you can see, both sides have valid arguments. It is a matter of whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa. For the most part, public surveillance has been working for our benefit. Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter with us and your peers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Please call us at 888-203-6294 if you have any questions regarding our security cameras or installation services, or to request a free quote! You can also visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com, where you’ll find more information about our products and service. We are happy to help you protect yourself and your loved ones.
Much like smart homes, smart cities aim to connect and protect while creating a more efficient living space. While smart homes and connected devices are slowly gaining in popularity, smart cities are working on becoming the next big trend.
To aid in a speedier adoption, a Smart City Forum has been created, which consists of CIOs and leaders from cities around the world. The forum allows cities to utilize top academic research with applied studies of various Internet of Things projects and smart technology.
Atlanta is among the cities involved in the Smart City Forum, and they are currently engaged in a pilot project. This project includes efforts to improve public safety, transportation, and water monitoring.
For public safety, plans for installation of smart security cameras are in place. However, this type of public surveillance can cause some uneasiness among residents. Aware of the concerns, officials plan on working with privacy experts and keeping things transparent when it comes to the technology and devices they employ. If residents oppose any plans, officials are dedicated to working with them to create a solution.
Aside from this, they are also aiming to improve transportation and water sensors. Traffic light synchronization is one of the ways they plan on improving traffic conditions. 300 miles of fiber optic cable will be laid to create a city-owned network, which will likely support the advanced traffic control system along with video surveillance and other smart city data. The excess capacity will end up being leased to raise money. Free Wi-Fi will also be available, however, the size of the Wi-Fi mesh network has yet to be determined.
Other plans include implementing license plate capture cameras, smart LED lighting atop smart poles, water meter sensors, and even smart city trash cans.
As expected, there will be lots of data that needs to be evaluated, and Atlanta will take care of that with the help of Georgia Tech and Georgia State University. They will run the big data analytics and report back on their findings so that the city can understand what they need to do to improve.
These pilot projects and the Smart City Forum will hopefully give other cities insight to what works and what doesn’t, as well as the size of the budget necessary to employ these technologies and systems. What are your thoughts on smart cities? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
For the best selection of affordable security camera systems, CCTV surveillance equipment, and more, visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294.
When residents voice concerns about safety, it’s important for authorities to listen and take action. In Rancho Cordova, that’s exactly what they did. Public surveillance has been put into place to help curb crime rates and keep residents safe.
Authorities have implemented a public surveillance system which seems to be working and well liked by most residents. There are warning signs and surveillance cameras that are clearly visible in public areas, with more to come. Being so transparent with the surveillance allows these measures to positively influence people’s behavior. Knowing you are being watched often persuades people to be on their best behavior, abiding by rules and regulations to avoid any negative consequences.
But the key to the success of this public surveillance program is keeping a close watch on live feeds in real time. This allows authorities to become proactive, possibly preventing incidents from occurring, rather than reacting after the crime has occurred. In Rancho Cordova, the live feed is available to the police stations as well as officers in their vehicles. Live monitoring also allows for better reaction times, as officers can gauge the severity of situations and prioritize accordingly.
While some residents have raised privacy concerns, authorities assure them that these cameras are installed in public arenas, not in areas where there’s an expectation of privacy.
Does your neighborhood or city implement a similar system? Have you noticed a difference in your safety and crime rates? Share your experiences and opinions with us. Find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
For your own security and surveillance needs, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294. We carry a wide selection of security cameras, CCTV camera packages, surveillance equipment, and provide services such as installation, site surveys, technical support and more.