According to the Columbus Dispatch, Mayor Michael B. Coleman has approved the installation of more than 100 crime cameras to be installed throughout five high crime areas. The cost is estimated to run over $4million and critics question if it’s really worth it.
The cameras will be installed throughout five areas: Weinland Park, Hilltop, South Linden, Mount Vernon, and Livingston. These spots were chosen based on crime statistics of the area paired with patrol input and community insight as well. Joyce Hughes of the Weinland Park Civic Association exclaims “Everyone said yes” about moving the cameras into their neighborhood.
While it’s no surprise that residents want to see the crime in their area decrease, they might have a little too much faith in what the cameras can actually accomplish.
There is little to no statistical data supporting the effectiveness of crime cameras. This is due to several reasons. First and foremost, people won’t commit an offense if the camera is on them.
But, unfortunately for residents, this doesn’t mean they will go inside and twiddle their thumbs. No, instead, they will go around the corner or just behind the camera. Particularly when it comes to drug sales, thefts, and other planned out offenses, the repeat offenders won’t let a camera discourage them—just move them slightly.
Also, if a crime is captured by a camera the suspect is typically long gone by the time the police arrive. Once the footage is recorded, it’s not always the best quality. In city after city, these grainy images have yielded little in the way of reliable evidence.
Mayor Coleman understands the cameras may not be the “silver bullet”. So, one wonders why pledging $2 million of the city’s money and $2.5 million of the capital fund is necessary.
In addition to its reliability as a crime deterrent or a crime solving tool, the ACLU brings up another issue—privacy. How will the police handle footage into people’s homes or of people’s personal lives?
The installation of these cameras seems to raise more questions than it does answer them. Long term it isn’t likely these tools will have much of an effect on city-wide crime. However, time will tell if Columbus has better luck than other cities across the country with this Big Brother approach to crime fighting.
More than likely, if you’re facing criminal charges, you weren’t caught on camera. But, even if the prosecution seems to have loads of evidence against you, don’t lose hope. Contact us today for a consultation on any Ohio criminal charge.