Skeptical About the Need for Surveillance Cameras

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The whole idea of public video surveillance cameras in Laguna Beach is quite disturbing (“Council Considers Views, Safety,” May 24 edition)

It can be abused by the police — not necessarily as a tool to solve crime after it has happened, but rather as a “fishing expedition.”

It can intimidate the public, including tourists.

Protecting “innocent behavior” and privacy are important public trusts we place on government.

While most people may be swayed by the notion of video surveillance having a beneficial effect on reducing crime, the evidence is really not there to substantiate this. It is important to note and distinguish between the use of private video surveillance and video surveillance on public property sanctioned by government with the police as an agent of the government.

Notwithstanding that these cameras have withstood ACLU challenges, it does not negate the validity of the challenges. I agree with the ACLU about a go-slow approach. Nothing is more precious to a free society than the right of its citizens to be free of the watchful eye of Big Brother.

My suggestion is that if cameras are implemented that the police are given strict regulations about when and how to access said information. And that is “after” a crime has been committed with a clear purpose of solving said crime in mind.  We cannot stand and should not stand for the police to monitor lawful activity and begin tracking the public because of “suspicion.”


Alan Boinus, Laguna Beach

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