Sunday, February 21, 2010

Living in the age of video surveillance


Some people are concerned about the proliferation of video surveillance gear in public and even on private property. They think it violates their privacy and could lead to a police state.
I’m on the side that believes video security cameras do more good than harm. They provide a deterrent to crime and are a cop’s best friend in solving crimes.
Two years ago, a man walked into a Lane Bryant women’s clothing store in Tinley Park, Ill., and shot five women dead. The case is unsolved. There were no video cameras in the store or parking lot. Had there been cameras, the culprit likely would have been caught.
Surveillance cameras have helped to solve a bunch of high profile cases: the abduction and murder of 2-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool, England, in February 1993; the kidnapping and murder of Carlie Brucia in Sarasota, Florida, in February 2004; and the July 2005 terrorist bombings in London.
More recently, security cameras led to arrests in the killing of a masseuse in Boston who advertised on Craigslist in April 2009 and the Yale University lab murder in September 2009.
Solving crimes would be a lot easier if there were more cameras inside and outside businesses and in public areas. I’d feel a lot safer knowing that bad guys can’t hide from the unblinking eye of surveillance cameras.
More consumers are installing do-it-yourself surveillance cameras because prices have fallen and they’re easier to set up now. MultiMedia Intelligence has projected annual sales of consumer video surveillance cameras hitting more than $1 billion by 2012.

Photos: Video stills of alleged Craigslist killer Philip Markoff and the abduction of Carlie Brucia.

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