Video Surveillance Profiling
Washington, DC Nov. 28th, 2007 ---- The United Kingdom has reportedly 4.2 million video cameras watching every aspect of life in the cities, around public buildings, commercial areas and throughout the road and rail system. The police claim is that a vehicle can be monitored from leaving it's original location to arriving at it's destination.
The successes in apprehending the bombers is attributed to this complex surveillance network. Critics believe that the expensive, and intrusive voyeur network has had little, if any effect on crime. Just allowed a lazy police force to harass citizens.
The seeds of this UK video network were planted in the 1970's in response to IRA bombings, and the network has grown over the years, with little public debate. Today it provides the largest concentration of video surveillance in the world.
In the United States there are those who believe the UK video surveillance network should be duplicated across the country, pointing to the reduction of the threat of terrorism as the yardstick to determine it's success. True the UK has lowered the threat, whilst the US still is paranoid about an imminent attack, which never seems to materialize. The resistance to covering major crime and risk areas with blanket 24/7 video surveillance is led by an unusual amalgam of interests, Privacy Advocates, NAACP, ACLU, Mafia, Trial Lawyers and the criminals themselves. The fear is that the system will be used to spy on political and labor demonstrations, and used to further the Police State, instead of protecting the population against crime and terrorism.
The call for video surveillance is at an all time high, with increasing violence and gang violence driving people away from inner cities, and into a siege mentality, protected by alarm systems, electronic surveillance, and Mr. Smith and Wesson. Spending most of the week in Philadelphia, and Washington, DC I can understand the fear. The evening TV News features the litany of murders and shootings, senseless murders by teenage gang members, bored and seeking thrills. Philadelphia has lost around 30% of it's population in recent years in what is known locally as "White Flight". At last a hamstrung City government is planning to bring in a small number of surveillance cameras in the high crime areas. The howls have already started from those who profit from the crime wave.
That is a factor not usually addressed in discussion so as not to offend the guilty. Those who suffer from the crime, violence, even terrorist acts are ignored lest those guilty of crimes are "Profiled".
In a perfect world everyone would be equal, innocent until proved guilty by a court of their peers. Until we reach that idyllic plateau I would prefer someone to be watching the usual suspects, who numerically carry out most crimes in the area under surveillance. If a teenage kid wearing a ski mask, and waving a gun is the usual "perp" I am sorry but all similar acting individuals need to be given special attention, ignoring 80 year old grandma's with their walking frames. If 100% of these kids are Black, or Hispanic then that is the direction to look, not for an Eskimo in Elk fur, or a Apache warrior doing a Rain Dance, to ensure the criminals, or their lawyers don't scream "Discrimination."
If the rules regarding the carriage of hand guns is overturned by the Supreme Court then the backlash against the rising crime and violence will make the liberal lawyers wish they had a neutral and effective video surveillance network to protect their criminal clients.
With effective "Checks and Balances" built into the existing oversight mechanism, then video surveillance is a very positive and worthwhile expenditure. Of course if the electorate is lazy and doesn't demand accountability then they get what they deserve. Many point to the excesses of the Bush Administration. Why then vote them back for a second term???? The same applies to City government and police departments. The structure is already there to monitor those who seek to monitor us. If we choose not to exercise this oversight at the ballot box, then we have a serious problem
In the meantime if operators are looking for the ideal candidate to commit a crime, detonate a bomb, or disrupt the safe lives of citizens, then they need to be identified and tracked. If that is profiling we should take note and act, before it's too late and we regret ignoring reality.