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Newark and the Future of Crime Fighting 172

Posted by kdawson
from the bangalore-across-the-hudson dept.
theodp writes "Newark Mayor Cory Booker is betting that cutting-edge technology will reduce crime and spark an economic renaissance. From a newly opened Surveillance Operations Center, cops armed with joystick controllers monitor live video feeds from more than 100 donated cameras scattered across the crime-ridden city. The moves are drawing kudos from businesses like Amazon subsidiary Audible.com, which has moved its HQ to downtown Newark, where space is 50% cheaper than in Manhattan. But are citizens giving up too much privacy?"
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Newark and the Future of Crime Fighting

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  • by bennybertow (903069) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:48AM (#24828479)
    Just think about it. If everybody had access to these camera streams, everyone could watch everyone doing... er... crime. Then call the cops if needed. Would work like Wikipedia, as everybody could possibly vote on where the cops should be sent next, or which direction the camera should turn. Then make money with advertising.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:48AM (#24828483)

    "So this is how liberty dies, to thunderous applause"

    at least that's how this summary paints it.

    They've had this in london for a while, and it's been a severe invasion of privacy.

    There have been several instances where the police have used cameras to follow people home and actually gaze through their windows.

    One particular man was so horrified he started protesting it, dressing up in bizarre costumes and skulking the streets provoking police responses.

    note to self: scratch newark off potential career location list.

    • They've had this in london for a while, and it's been a severe invasion of privacy.

      And it cost billions of pounds yet doesn't help [guardian.co.uk] in actually fighting crime.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MightyYar (622222)

        The study that you linked does not indicate whether the cameras help prevent crime - only whether they were used to help in convictions. A California study that I read seems to indicate that crimes at least move out of the range of cameras. Too lazy to Google it at the moment :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Halo1 (136547)

          The study that you linked does not indicate whether the cameras help prevent crime - only whether they were used to help in convictions.

          The first one I mentioned in this post [bbc.co.uk] does. It's far from conclusive though.

          • by symbolic (11752)

            This quote...
            And CCTV pictures mean there has been an enormous increase in guilty verdicts. ...seems to directly contradict a quote from another article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/06/ukcrime1):
            Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It's been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV.

            I guess what you hear depends on whether or not the person you're speaking to is a stakehold

            • by Halo1 (136547)

              That quote comes from someone of the Home Office (the people responding for this senseless spending spree), so yes, that's not really an impartial source.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          There is precious little evidence that CCTV actually helps in fighting crime overall. Privacy International's FAQ [privacyinternational.org] has a few comments and sources.

          Anecdotally, I can tell you that despite high profile CCTV being installed here in Cambridge (hardly the crime capital of the UK), it did not help a woman I personally saw being seriously assaulted: there was no coverage in the alley where it happened, so the police came only when I called them. Nor did it help when a substantial sum of money was stolen from a comm

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by ColdSam (884768)
            There is also precious little evidence that CCTV actually violates our privacy.
            • In a culture where data collection, storage and mining is as easy as it is fast becoming, we need to reevaluate what we mean by "privacy" and what reasonable expectations are. It is normal that if you walk down the street, others walking down the street see you, momentarily. It is not normal that every time you leave your home, you are tracked everywhere you go and your every movement is recorded for future examination by unidentified, unaccountable parties with the power to destroy your life.

              Don't think it

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by ColdSam (884768)
                You're making a case that it is possible for them to use CCTVs this way, not that there is any evidence that they are doing so. But here is the contradiction you seem to have missed - if they were so adept at using these cameras to invade our privacy then they should certainly be able to catch common criminals.

                You just can't argue both sides - i.e. that authorities can't identify a mugger, but they know exactly who you are and can even tell which page of The Catcher in the Rye you're reading.
                • The reality right now is that CCTV resolution and coverage is too limited to be of much use for anything, though things like traffic cameras are reliable cash cows for the government because of the mandatory display of licence plates on all cars. The rest of the cameras are mostly just a big waste of money.

                  However, the stated intent of various policing and other government units goes far beyond what we're seeing now. New technologies that will inevitably become reliable enough to be convincing are being hea

            • by sjames (1099)

              From the post you replied to:

              They did have a good story in the local press about cameras mounted on buildings on one of the main shopping streets being turned to look into students' bedroom windows on the opposite side of the street a little while back, though.

              I'm guessing that wasn't part of a research project examining study habits.

    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday September 01, 2008 @07:03AM (#24828921) Journal
      Screw your privacy. This is great. It should be accessible to the public at all times. This is a way to watch the cops and the politicians, not the other way around.
      • Except that whenever the CCTV evidence could be used to help with that sort of thing, the cameras are mysteriously switched off. This has been infamously been the case both for London protests, where large numbers of peaceful protesters (and anyone else unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) were detained under very dubious authority for several hours by the police, and in the case of the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting, where not a single camera on the London Underground managed to

        • Now that is much more interesting than discussions about privacy rights. How would you go about protecting the public against such occurrences?

          I've been thinking that you would need a wireless mesh network and some sort of system that would automatically replicate all the recorded footage across the mesh. Like a pared down Freenet, simplified by not requiring anonymity be provided. You would also want secure personal recorders as a norm.

          You put that together with a social expectation that monitoring and

    • by xaxa (988988)

      "So this is how liberty dies, to thunderous applause"

      at least that's how this summary paints it.

      They've had this in london for a while, and it's been a severe invasion of privacy.

      [Citation needed]
      Sorry, but it is. I don't know of any cases where a CCTV video of a celebrity (for instance) has been leaked.

      Most people don't give a moment's notice to the cameras -- almost all of which are privately owned or on the transport system, and most of which aren't monitored but are just recorded and referred to if needed.
      Liberty is ending not because of the CCTV cameras, but by the rules about protesting and the police applying "terrorism" laws to others (e.g. environmental protesters).

      There have been several instances where the police have used cameras to follow people home and actually gaze through their windows.

      [Citatio

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by irtza (893217)

      Well, I seriously doubt that you are the type of person that would have set foot in newark prior to the cameras. I work there now and they have a camera on the street which I work.

      The purpose of government is to provide a sense of security; to provide an environment in which you can flourish. Newark was nowhere near that setup. if walking down the street was taking a risk - I assure you that you would give up freedoms. The level of freedoms you will give up will be directly proportional to the level of

      • the purpose of the government is to protect me from people and corporations trampling my liberty, not to provide "security".

      • The purpose of government is to provide a sense of security; to provide an environment in which you can flourish.

        Some might say that the purpose of government is to provide actual security, which can often be very different than some useless (and sometimes dangerous) sense of security.

        I would love to see you continue to insist that police officers not be aggressive and that the areas you are in be unmonitored. Most people will demand a more aggressive stand by law enforcement

        This line of reasoning makes me realize that we should resurrect Maria Montessori and make her the head of the DHS. I'm not a crime fighting expert, but am pretty sure that most effective way to be safer is to live among people who are aware of what's going on, and people who care for each other. Waiting for The Justice League to ph

        • by irtza (893217)
          I agree with your sentiment that cameras may not provide security, but I think its too early to say The difference between cameras in public and other forms of intrusion is the knowledge that the camera is present. People don't have expectations of privacy in public areas. If there was a cop standing on the street corner, would you take offense? How about a cop on every street corner? Its one thing to bitch about a camera in public and another to provide a means to resecure an area that is so run down
      • by bogjobber (880402)

        The purpose of government is to provide a sense of security; to provide an environment in which you can flourish.

        No, the purpose of government is to provide *actual* security while maintaining civil liberties. There is no evidence that these cameras will reduce crime, as they've been used elsewhere with negligible results, and they definitely are at conflict with civil liberties.

        What Newark needs is better education, increased economic opportunity, and more and better-trained policemen *on the streets*,

  • by houghi (78078) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:50AM (#24828495)

    The UK has the most camera's per capita, I think. Are there any numbers available on how much crime has decreased in those areas where the camera's are? Also how much have they incread in surrounding areas where they are not.

    Next what is the cost to keep them running and what was the value of goods being stolen.

    Also it would be interesting to see if people feel safer because there are camera's to watch over them or if they feel unsafer to have camera's watch over them.

    I can imagine that the cost is much higher and that theft has just moved and people feel less safe while it costs much more even when compared to what is stolen. So all in all good for the few companies in those areas, but bad for the community as a whole.

    Only real figures will tell.

    • by Halo1 (136547) <.jonas.maebe. .at. .elis.ugent.be.> on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:27AM (#24828701) Homepage

      The UK has the most camera's per capita, I think. Are there any numbers available on how much crime has decreased in those areas where the camera's are? Also how much have they incread in surrounding areas where they are not.

      Crime doesn't move away when cctv's are installed. They simply have pretty much no consistent effects [bbc.co.uk] on crime rates at all. And they generally don't help with solving crimes [schneier.com] either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MathFox (686808)
      As far as I know serious research on the effectiveness of the UK cameras showed (at best) a hardly measurable impact on crime.
      Cameras can extend the eyes of the police force, but they do not provide more hands on the street. For and effective use of cameras you need communication with your officers on the street to direct them to the scene (and hope they arrive in time). Cameras are very good in recording crime and can help in catching criminals; some say that arresting suspects raises the registered crime
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:51AM (#24828501) Homepage Journal

    Nope, they don't reduce crime. They don't even prevent them. They don't deter and they are pretty much useless.

    CCTV cameras are everywhere in the UK, but, according to a recent report by the CCTV manager of Scotland Yard... They simply don't work, despite billions of UKP invested. You can read this analysis here [guardian.co.uk].

    Putting real, flesh-and-blood policemen, on the beat is the way to go. Putting cameras (which hardly qualifies as high-tech anyway) don't work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by monsul (1342167)

      Nope, they don't reduce crime. They don't even prevent them. They don't deter and they are pretty much useless.

      CCTV cameras are everywhere in the UK, but, according to a recent report by the CCTV manager of Scotland Yard... They simply don't work, despite billions of UKP invested. You can read this analysis here [guardian.co.uk].

      Putting real, flesh-and-blood policemen, on the beat is the way to go. Putting cameras (which hardly qualifies as high-tech anyway) don't work.

      That's an oversimplification. CCTV works against certain kinds of crime (burglary for example) but it is quite ineffective against others such as mugging (much more fast paced). The error made by the british was to think that cameras solve ALL kinds of crime

    • by dattaway (3088) on Monday September 01, 2008 @07:00AM (#24828905) Homepage Journal

      I can confirm these cameras DO NOT prevent crime. I have a drug house in front of mine. Lots of vandalism, theft, noise, and hooliganism. So I got a top of the line $2500 PTZ network camera. Here's my little story:

      The camera did what I wanted it to do. It takes clear snapshots of the fistfulls of cash, the hits from the water bongs, and where they hide the goods. Great pictures. Gave them to the police. That was months ago. Drug house still going strong. Recently, the camera caught the guy returning from a bad hit and run accident and tried to hide his car in the back yard. The guy is still running around. If I bought the camera to watch a bunch of thugs, its working. To reduce crime, haha. They know the camera is here and wave their middle finger at it.

      Here's my Axis network cam if you want to play with it:

      http://www.dattaway.net/ [dattaway.net]

      There's links at the bottom of the camera page for some of the pictures I saved as the drama continues...

      • Here's my Axis network cam if you want to play with it:

        Heh. How long did it stay up? Did it make it to the 100,000th slashdot visitor, or perish nearer the 1000 mark. Kudos for courage though...not many would dare flirt with the slashdot effect.

        • by dattaway (3088)

          Heh. How long did it stay up? Did it make it to the 100,000th slashdot visitor, or perish nearer the 1000 mark. Kudos for courage though...not many would dare flirt with the slashdot effect.

          I can thank the poor bandwidth here in the USA to prevent the camera from melting! The Axis network cameras are pretty good about limiting connections and queing users in the control group. The camera runs Linux and it has an active development community, so I'm always free to tweak the settings if needed. These make

      • I am sorry to hear this, and I sympathize with you. All I can say is, do not give up!

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        I live in Newark. I'm fortunate enough to live in the nice part of town.

        Cameras won't help for shit when the police ignore blatant evidence. Thankfully things do seem to be turning around a good lot.

      • by quag7 (462196)

        Interesting shots. Good camera. Although, I think I would have handled the situation differently.

        I probably would have walked over and said, point blank, "I know you guys are dealing drugs out of here because it is obvious. And in terms of that, it's none of my business, until it affects me personally.

        To that end, it's important to me that my property remain undamaged and unvandalized, and that this area remain safe. If I have problems on my property because of your little enterprise, we're going to hav

    • by GauteL (29207)

      I know this is unpopular but the source you yourself cite, clearly suggests that the problem isn't necessarily that CCTV is inheritly flawed as a weapon against crime but inefficient use of them.

      The problem seems to be that the footage is rarely used by police officers investigating crimes, because they can't be bothered going beyond local councils to retrieve video and because storage and retrieval is awkward and time consuming.

      Because the footage is rarely used effectively, criminals are also unlikely to

    • by kahei (466208)

      1) Sentencing rates are so low for street crime in the UK that I don't think anyone cares whether there is a camera there or not. That's a problem with the UK's social/political/bureaucratic stance, not with the use of cameras.

      2) The Guardian is hardly neutral or impartial; you'd expect them to claim cameras are bad, it's part of their viewpoint. I'm not saying it's wrong, just that given the tremendous number of factors not controlled for, opinion is likely to outweigh the few conclusions we can draw fro

    • The experience in the UK is not proof that cameras cannot reduce crime. From the article you linked to:

      Often [officers] do not want to find CCTV images "because it's hard work". Sometimes the police did not bother inquiring beyond local councils to find out whether CCTV cameras monitored a particular street incident.

      In short: they put up a lot of cameras in the hope it would prevent crime. It turns out it didn't. This, however, does not prove crime won't reduce if you actually start using the camera's.

      My guess is that if you could properly digitise all the footage so a computer could automatically track a list of suspects from with the time they left their house to the crime locations you would catch a lot more.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:57AM (#24828541)

    Where we have probably more surveillance than anywhere else in the world, let me shed a little light on how CCTV winds up working in the real world.

    • There are always blind spots where no camera can see.
    • You can't expect particularly high quality images. I can't count the number of times I've seen CCTV footage on television where it appears that the police are seeking an amorphous grey blob. The cameras appear to be improving slightly but don't bet on it.
    • If the cameras are controllable from a central control room, then getting a decent shot of someone breaking the law is dependant on there being no attractive women walking past in the opposite direction at the time.
    • Those who think that this could ultimately be a good thing from a civil liberties perspective - I know of no CCTV camera which has caught evidence of police misconduct, even when there is strong reason to believe that they should have done so. (Why this should be the case I leave as an exercise to the reader)
    • Those who think this is a bad thing from a civil liberties perspective - this depends entirely on how law enforcement uses the tool. There's a temptation there, but to be honest there are so many cameras relative to the number of people looking at them that I can't see mass suppression being an issue unless/until we have computer software which can reliably analyse the video feed of every camera and react in real time. Which is not to say that such software won't exist, but I don't think it does yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Those who think that this could ultimately be a good thing from a civil liberties perspective - I know of no CCTV camera which has caught evidence of police misconduct, even when there is strong reason to believe that they should have done so. (Why this should be the case I leave as an exercise to the reader)

      Toni Comer [guardian.co.uk] was shown in CCTV footage being repeatedly punched in the face by a South Yorkshire PC, but the IPCC rejected [ipcc.gov.uk] her complaint of assault, presumably because she had the wrong skin tone.

      So the

      • by timmarhy (659436)
        i'd cut him a little slack, she sounds like a crazy coked up bitch that took 3 officers to subdue her.

        he would have been dragged through hell for that indiscretion which was entirely of that womans own making. in the context of this arguement though, CCTV doesn't have some kind of cop protection built in, the boys in blue simply don't lash out as much as people claim. CCTV doesn't stop crime i'm in agreement there, the money is better spent on cops walking the beat just like they used to.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          If you read the linked article, she was drunk and epileptic rather than coked up, and officers trained in restraint should never, ever need to punch a woman in the face to subdue her (Sean Connery notwithstanding).

          Now that the cops have pepper spray, there's even less excuse.

          I'm in full agreement with spending the money on foot patrols rather than CCTV, especially round here where both the camera that covers our street and the ones in the neighbouring park are regularly out of action - happily Hampshire Pol

    • by squizzar (1031726)

      There's cameras on the footpath that runs past then end of the row of houses where I live, probably due to the amount of drug dealing that used to go on there. Handily they put up a camera so now the drug dealing goes on outside the front of the house, or round another corner - all out of view of the cameras. Unless you surveil everyone, everywhere it ain't going to work, it will just push street crime into slightly shadier corners.

      • by mo^ (150717)

        To you and the guy a few posts up.... why do you have a problem with drug dealers??

        If they steal your stuff, they are burglars...

        If they mug you for the cash they are violent offenders...

        If they trash your property when stoned they are vandals...

        But consensual financial exchange for goods is something you think needs to be watched?

        wow dude, get a fuckin life

        • by squizzar (1031726)

          My point was that the cameras do nothing to deter crime - in this specific case drug dealing which was the reason for the camera to be put up - but that they simply move it, whether that crime be drug dealing (the law says it's a crime, whether I agree with that or not is irrelevant in this context) or vandalism or any of the other things you mention. You won't get mugged on that footpath either, you will get mugged around the corner where the camera doesn't point. Which brings me back to the point I was

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by flyinhigh (1067038)
      As someone that lives in the UK as well, the criminals don't even care if the cameras see them, because most of the images are totally useless. Also when they put the cameras in they pulled bobbies off the beat. So now instead of getting mugged and just losing your wallet, they stab you first and pull your wallet because its faster. Thank the lord im moving to the U.S. next month.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      Those who think that this could ultimately be a good thing from a civil liberties perspective - I know of no CCTV camera which has caught evidence of police misconduct, even when there is strong reason to believe that they should have done so. (Why this should be the case I leave as an exercise to the reader)

      For example, the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes [wikipedia.org] in the subway in the UK.

  • Since when do citizens "Give up" their privacy? In this case, and in most cases, they're having it taken from them by the government...
    • by SeaFox (739806)

      When the citizens don't throw out the leaders who make these decisions, they are giving up. A leader can only be a leader as long as there are people willing to follow him.

      • by kaos07 (1113443)
        So has there been an election since this initiative began? I don't think so. How do you expect them to "throw them out"?
    • Giving up what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      Since when do citizens "Give up" their privacy? In this case, and in most cases, they're having it taken from them by the government...

      The simple fact is that the notion anything you do IN PUBLIC is in fact private, is utterly insane.

      There are lots of great reasons to not like cameras all over. Giving up some imaginary "privacy" component to your public strolls is not, nor will it ever be, one of them.

      People need to get a grip and understand they cannot walk around in a protected bubble 24/7.

      • by kaos07 (1113443)
        Care to share one of these reasons?
        • by timmarhy (659436)
          you don't need lots, just one - their a waste of money and they don't prevent any crime at all.
        • Care to share one of these reasons?

          The fact they don't actually do anything to stop or deter crime, is to me the elephant in the room.

          But just because they don't work, is no reason to get agitated about them unless you're the one paying for them (and many cameras around cities are privately placed)

      • by Spatial (1235392)

        People need to get a grip and understand they cannot walk around in a protected bubble 24/7.

        Funny you say that, because that's the reason they're putting the cameras there.

        The simple fact is that the notion anything you do IN PUBLIC is in fact private, is utterly insane.

        Rubbish. The difference is that with cameras, you are being watched. Without the cameras, people can see you and that's it. It's the difference between a passer-by and a stalker.

        • Rubbish. The difference is that with cameras, you are being watched. Without the cameras, people can see you and that's it. It's the difference between a passer-by and a stalker.

          That's stupid. According to you walking on a large hill viloates your privacy if people look up. Or if you are in a large crown.

          In fact, a stalker is by definition singular so the more eyes on you the farther away from "stalker" you get, and the closer to "broad indifference". And that's why the camera's don't matter - if they don

          • by Spatial (1235392)

            That's stupid. According to you walking on a large hill viloates your privacy if people look up. Or if you are in a large crown.

            I meant the intent behind it. In a crowd you don't have privacy, but even then the lack of it is incidental, as the crowd is not there to observe me or each other.

            I was thinking about situations such as walking in the street talking with a friend, or sitting on a park bench. Where I live I do have a degree of privacy even in public places. Hence my objection to your characterisation of it as an insane expectation; for me it's only an expectation of normality.

            if they don't work to deter crime (which they don't) then why on earth do you imagine they are effective for any other dark purpose your fevered imagination produces? They are irrelevant.

            They aren't irrelevant. For their intended p

  • by cornjchob (514035) <thisiswherejunkgoes@gmail.com> on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:34AM (#24828747)

    Terrible crime will continue so long as terrible abridgements of liberty continue--people are always going to want grog, coke, meth and weed, and many people are ready to pay a lot of money for it. And just as many people are ready to do whatever they need to to make some money.

    This is going to do is cause prices to go up, which in turn will lead to worse turf wars and drug related violence, which shakes everything else around it up. It's a white elephant, I hope this post will encourage some /.ers to look into this. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a great place to start. We're talking $69,000,000,000/year to fight MARIJUANA. In fact, well over 800,000 in '06 went to prison solely for marijuana related charges, of these something like 70, 80% are minorities (though by a very large margin, drug users are white). If you want to get rid of crime, you need to get rid of the black market for drugs.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:37AM (#24828767) Journal

    It is Newark.

    Keanu Reeves [imdb.com] will (eventually) save the day.
    With a little help from Ice-T and his cyber dolphin friend Jones.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "It is Newark."

      The only cure for Newark is gentrification, because crime is a function of the people who live in an area. The cameras may help lure more businesses to Newark, which will disperse the problem people.

      The mass of poor in Newark will never have jobs, because the business model that lured their grandparents to the area is long dead and not coming back.

  • You have no expectation of privacy in public. That is why we have those two words - 'public' and 'private'. Unless these concerned people scream at folks who dare look at them when they are out in the street, the problem is not that they are being watched, but something rather different.
    • True and, as the article pointed out, the ACLU negotiated rules about the cameras not pointing into people's homes, and about the feeds being stored for no more than 30 days.

      However, cameras are a waste of public funds. Police forces love to cite case studies on how they used cameras to catch some criminal, but really, there hasn't been much change in crime in cities where the only change to the police department was the use of cameras. Notice that in this case, a lot more was changed: new computers (
  • A couple of years back I used to cycle into the city to work. I used to leave my bike tied to the bike parking outside the city council offices, an area which is heavily covered by CCTV.

    After finishing work one night, I came back to the bike park to find my bike missing. I found some 'bobbies on the beat' and reported it.

    Anyway, I got a call back a couple of days later, asking if I could be any more specific about when it happened (I'd been on an 8 hour shift), as unless I could tell them the exact time
    • by thermian (1267986)

      I realise that police have more important things to do, but then what is the point of putting up security cameras overlooking a bike park if you aren't going to bother using them?

      Because a stolen bike isn't why its up there. Its up there to record things like violent crime, vandalism, or muggings, so they can catch the people responsible.

      Your bicycle is, or should be, covered by your household insurance. Make a claim, get a new bike, and let them worry about the police having no interest in an investigation.

      • by drsquare (530038)

        How many muggers and vandals ended up as they are because they started off stealing bikes and realised they could get away with it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nospam007 (722110)

      >Anyway, I got a call back a couple of days later, asking if I could be any more specific about when it happened (I'd been on an 8 hour shift), as unless I could tell them the exact time my bike was stolen, they weren't going to bother checking the CCTV . . .

      That's because they have still analog cameras or shitty software. With real surveillance apps you should be able to select a rectangle with the bike's frame and fast forward until it changes more than a certain percentage. (bike no longer there but i

  • ... cameras dressed up as crime-fighting ninjas in my head.

    Seriously though, cameras don't fight crime. At best, they are used to convict the people who commit the crime. In a few cases, they may be used to identify a perp who is known to the police. At worst, they drive crime to other areas (and probably residential areas, since those are the people who have the least ability to lobby for similar "protection").

    But ultimately they fail because this is a technical solution to a social problem.

  • Wake me when Robocop starts his patrol.

  • by ledow (319597)

    Well, London (and the UK in general) is just finding out that CCTV has pretty much zero effect on crime in local areas. They never cover everywhere, and in the areas they do cover the CCTV only provides evidence. It doesn't deter much, as was previously thought, but it assists in detection and conviction. We even have these fancy "follow the person through the crowds for the surrounding mile and work out where he went" cameras - they don't work as well as you think, even with a human operator and hours o

  • the opinions of the typical slashdot demographic:

    1. middle class to upper middle class
    2. suburban, or if urban, living in a low crime area

    meanwhile, if you actually go to newark, and ask a sampling of residents their opinion: cameras, gunshot microphones, etc.: that's 100% welcome for them. its funny how the constant threat of violence reorients what your concepts of freedom and invasion of privacy mean. ie, to mean: freedom from street violence, and no invasion of your privacy by street thugs

    i hate to say

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      Only one problem: they DO NOT WORK. They don't prevent crime, they don't help to punish crime. The desperate and ignorant are given a placebo and they welcome it, what a surprise!

      the hackneyed line "he who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security" is frankly, wrong. not morally wrong, logically wrong. for without security, a lot of that which you take for granted, including your entire ideological and political agenda, would not be possible. you can't educate, you can't earn a good income, you can't have peace of mind, you can't have civilization and progress without security

      Remind me, was the security America has in other areas made possible by cameras watching the streets? I'll tell you: no. Fundamental foundation of society? It is, but the cameras have nothing to do with it.

      Read the quote again: temporary security. You're talking about permanent security. This offers neither, only the illusi

    • by Icarium (1109647)

      My biggest problem with using that quote is that it is often quoted incompletely:

      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      For some reason, whenever this quote is dragged out, one or both of the bolded sections is often omitted. Granted, even in context I don't that the measures being implemented are granting any safety, temporary or otherwise. On the other hand, being able to walk around in public without being observed is hardly a right, essential or otherwise. The quote, in full, is neither morally nor logically wrong. It is simply misquoted too

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I *do* live in Newark, and I'd much rather the officers monitoring the camera are on the street instead of sitting behind a desk. A camera can't save your life.

      Even though I live in the "nice" part of town, the worse parts of town do tend to have people with cars who like to rob the people who actually have things like jobs, money, etc.

  • So what makes you think you are entitled to privacy there? If you want privacy, stay in private places.

    Next we'll have people at the ballpark suing the network because they showed up on TV when a foul ball went into the stands.

  • The article admits that Newark is crime ridden and that rents are 50% less due to the high crime rate. Then the question is posed as to whether too much privacy may be lost in new crime fighting efforts. This is an admission that privacy is causal to crime. Some folks may consider privacy to be a basic liberty but how much privacy does one have when one is dead from a drug crazed junky seeking to steal for a fix? All civil liberties go in the dumpster when crime exists. Loss of privacy is a small price

  • A better idea. Instead of police using donated cameras to watch stuff, citizens should be buying guns to defend themselves. It has been observed time and time again that in places where more citizens own guns, there tends to be less crime. Because if you're a crook, where will you commit your crimes? In a place where your victims will blow your head off? Or in a place where the victims are helpless and the police are too busy watching surveillance cameras to do anything about it? But then again, this is /.
  • Have there been any lawsuits about this yet?

    I think it is premature to to say that people have been "giving up" their privacy. I have no doubt that there will be some loud noises and lawsuits over this.

    As another poster mentioned, this was also done in various parts of the UK, also in the name of "security" and "crime fighting". It has been miserable and abominable, and NOBODY likes it, "security" or not.

"Pok pok pok, P'kok!" -- Superchicken

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