Honestly, I’d Care A Little More About Your Civil Liberties If Homeland Security Wasn’t Waving So Much Damn Cash In My Face
Hizzoner says that the 505 surveillance cameras going up around the city are not meant to catch terrorists more than they are there to nab petty criminals. Is that supposed to make anyone feel better?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that the main purpose of the 505 surveillance cameras soon to pop up in 253 spots around the city is to fight everyday street crime rather than catch terrorists.
“The crime that we worry about day in and day out mostly is street crime,” he told reporters during a news conference. “That’s what we’ve got to bring down.”
Bloomberg said the likelihood of a terrorist attack is hopefully lessened because of the city’s prevention measures, intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism work.
The surveillance cameras, which will be installed in high-traffic, high-crime areas, are key to combating street crime, the mayor said.
“When there is a crime committed, one of the first things the police do is look in the neighborhood and see if there’s a camera in a store that’s been running, that may catch the perpetrator,” Bloomberg added.
Fair enough — I don’t mind them getting a little Big Brother on us if it can help them figure out who busted my windshield — but isn’t the idea of a Homeland Security grant to focus on the whole problem of wackos with bombs? Or maybe I’m naive for assuming that’s what they’d use it for:
At about $18,000 per camera, the total system will cost in excess of $9.1 million, to be funded with federal homeland security grants, said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly during a hearing before the City Council Public Safety Committee Tuesday.
Police are now in the process of picking a contractor to install the cameras — closed-circuit televisions that will likely not be monitored in real time but will provide footage for police to scour after a crime happens.
Meant to act as a deterrent as well, the cameras will be highly visible under signs reading: “Area Under NYPD Video Surveillance.”
And not to get all, you know, ACLU about it, but people on Staten Island don’t have even the slightest pretext that these have anything to do with terrorism:
Many [cameras] come courtesy of the borough’s most avid proponent of surveillance cameras, Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn), who has allocated nearly $1.5 million toward them. He funded cameras that now record the bustle in six public schools. A $35,000 surveillance system he funded for the Jewish Community Center in Sea View helped catch two teen-agers who set fire to center property in December 2004.
Oddo reported that the city Housing Authority has given him the go-ahead to install closed-circuit televisions in the Berry Houses and South Beach Houses. He is now working on getting the money through City Council capital funds.
Councilman Michael McMahon (D-North Shore) offered his own list of hot spots yesterday, mostly delis and other retail operations that have become the focal point of drug deals and other crime.
His suggested sites include the Arlington Terrace Apartments, the corner of Brabant Street and Harbor Road in Mariners Harbor, a stretch of Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond where prostitution has been reported and Castleton Avenue at the corner of Port Richmond Avenue in Port Richmond and the corner of Broadway in West Brighton.
Schools, public housing, parks — you get the idea what these cameras are really used for. And with the mayor saying flatly that is what they’re used for, well, there you go.Posted: March 24th, 2006 | Filed under: Everyone Is To Blame Here, I Don't Get It!, Law & Order, Staten Island