Poorly spent funds: Surveillance cameras in DC

I am especially sensitive to this as one of these camera units is a block and half from my house.  Questions that come to mind are:

  • How long will the District retain footage from these cameras?
  • Who will maintain this footage: law enforcement or emergency management?
  • Can I as a citizen request to see footage as part of a FOIA request?
  • Will INS/FBI/ATF/other Federal law enforcement agencies have access to these cameras on an ongoing basis?
As I mentioned there’s one of these cameras a block and half from my house.  It sits on a very heavily trafficked corner.  People stand there waiting for the bus.  There is a huge amount of vehicular traffic that goes right by it.  There is a 7-11 right there and there is always some flavor of law enforcement officer there. There is rare street crime in the area and when it does happen it happens blocks away on darker corners.  There is no way this camera prevents crime in any way shape or form.
 
If the real goal is to prevent crime, instead of spending the $10 million to set this system up, put that cash to funding more neighborhood cops who walk a beat.    

9 Replies to “Poorly spent funds: Surveillance cameras in DC”

  1. Ian,

    This seems akin to the show at any US airport. How much have we spent on ‘security’ at airports, and how much of it actually prevents crimes?

    Seems like they should have installed those cameras at the borders.

  2. Ian, I’m find this kind of system very interesting. It’s not much different than the systems they use in London. One can’t walk anywhere in London these day’s without being watched by a security camera. Good? Bad? hard to tell.

  3. Well, on one hand we have protection from those that will do us harm.

    On the other hand we have a whole new world that a lot of people consider to be a George Orwell type surveillance society.

    Which one is the best for us? I believe that is open for debate.

  4. and it is pure security theater. I have written about the security cameras in my neighborhood and my concerns about who has access to them. Further the number of mobile surveillance units is

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