According to a recent article, the Forest Park Police Department has had discussions about “a network of high-resolution cameras to monitor roadways and alleys, and, potentially … schools [and] banks.” Hostage situations justifying such surveillance sound compelling, but analysis of the available data tells a different story.
Studies by the British government and criminologists in the U.S. strongly suggest this kind of surveillance is not cost effective. Indeed, the officer in charge of the London security camera system said, “Billions of pounds has been spent … It’s been an utter fiasco.” Because the money isn’t spent on things that work, installing cameras actually means less security.
Besides, the push for more police surveillance is un-American. The ultimate goal of terrorists is not to kill people, but to sow fear for political purposes. After 9/11, President Bush urged people to carry on as usual and reject fear. How ironic if we embrace fear and let the bungling underpants bomber win by willingly placing ourselves under police video surveillance.
Our village logo says, “Big City Access, Small Town Charm.” To me that means cops on the beat and community involvement. Reject “Big City Surveillance.” Reject fear.
Geoff and Amy Binns-Calvey
Elaine Faith Rose