As I've been following the debate over the proposed placement of surveillance cameras on State and Inn Streets, and along the waterfront, the one question I've not heard anyone ask is, "Is there any empirical evidence out there that proves surveillance cameras actually deter or prevent crime?"
Think about it. There's not a bar or restaurant in Newburyport that is not chock full of video cameras watching their employees and customers alike. But their presence doesn't stop some employees from over serving their customers, and some customers from over indulging.
Here in Costa Rica, the capital city of San Jose is under intense video camera surveillance, but the city's streets still remain extremely dangerous, especially after dark.
Many restaurants, especially higher end establishments catering to upper middle class and affluent Costa Ricans, along with foreign tourists, have video cameras, but that hasn't stopped bands of well dressed thieves entering the establishments, pulling out their weapons, and robbing everyone in the place - a type of crime that is growing in popularity in metro San Jose, despite the presence of video cameras.
Before Americans surrender any more of our privacy and civil liberties, don't we at least have the right to ask whether these intrusions on both actually help keep us safer, and don't the authorities have a responsibility to answer?
PN de Limon, CR
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