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Baltimore crime cameras: ‘Sound investment’ or costly privacy violation?

Did you know that when you are on many of the streets of Baltimore that you are being watched? In the past, cameras have been installed to supposedly catch potential crimes and provide the community a sense of safety. But the old, more “obvious” cameras are tools of the past. The current mayor is stepping up the supposed anti-crime game on the streets of Baltimore.

Older cameras had blinking lights, and the community could clearly tell when and where they were being watched. The new cameras will not only be less obvious, but they will be installed by the plenty. Footage caught on the cameras could work as strong evidence in Baltimore criminal cases. Most specifically, the cameras seek to reduce violent crime in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun reports that throughout the city, an estimated 600 cameras are at work to deter violent crime on the streets. Last week, a special event took place for the installation of a new camera at Homestead Street and Harford Road, an area where crimes of violence reportedly increased last year.

Supporters of the crime cameras believe that adding the surveillance tools to the streets prevents potential criminals from committing crimes. If they think they are being watched, they won’t violate the law, right? Critics of that argument suggest that crime still occurs, it just moves when the community learns of the cameras. Therefore, is the cost of installing hundreds of cameras in Baltimore worth it during a time when the economy is already rough?

Do you see the cameras as a positive addition to the community? Do they make you feel safer? Do you think that it is an expensive law enforcement tool that causes all residents to live with limited privacy simply by stepping outside of their Baltimore homes?

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “City expands crime cameras into Northeast Baltimore,” Justin Fenton, May 2, 2012

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