Are Cameras Worth It?
In May 2010, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American drove his Nissan Pathfinder into one of the most scrutinized urban spaces on the planet and parked along the curb.In the hours that followed, more than 80 city surveillance cameras – as well as dozens of private cameras, constant media feeds and amateur tourist videographers - failed to capture an image of Faisal Shahzad and his suspicious, fertilizer-packed SUV in Times Square. All those electronic eyes couldn't even provide police investigators an image of the suspect
Without some to watch and interpret the video feed, all you have is a lot of taxpayer money pissed away to no end. Some other points:
- London city data revealed that police were no more likely to catch the perpetrators of crimes committed in camera-dense areas than in other boroughs, suggesting no link between more cameras and better crime solving.
- In Chicago, the country's most extensive, integrated network, cameras in Humboldt Park correlated to a 12 percent decline in overall crime, including a 33 percent reduction in drug offenses and robberies and a 20 percent drop in violent crime. Meanwhile, a second Chicago area of study, West Garfield Park, saw no crime drop.
- The FBI won't accept Chicago statistics in their annual report on crime. Why would the camera study people trust anything coming out of these bean counters?
- Most importantly, what role did gentrification play in the crime reduction around Humboldt Park? If you price the gang bangers out of the neighborhood, they aren't around to do robberies, burglaries and murders.
Smoke and mirrors, but the mirror is cracked and the smoke is rapidly dissipating.