The Los Angeles Police Department plans to start installing crime surveillance cameras on city streets, beginning with Hollywood Boulevard, says the Los Angeles Times. Five video cameras will train their electronic eyes on one of the world’s most famous streets as early as January. Tf all goes according to plan, there eventually will be 64 cameras on Hollywood, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards and Western Avenue. Officials hope the cameras will help the understaffed LAPD investigate and deter crime.
There has been ittle public debate over which areas warrant cameras, how the LAPD will find the personnel to watch them, and how the city will ensure that the sophisticated devices are not used to peer into homes. Los Angeles already has some cameras observing public places, including MacArthur Park and selected graffiti hot spots, but these would be the first police-monitored cameras on streets. Other major cities, including Chicago, have many more cameras. “This is creeping Big Brotherism, and it’s really disturbing,” said Ramona Ripston of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “More and more, we are losing our right to any kind of privacy.”