Columbus To Buy Anticrime Cameras; ACLU Skeptical


Early next summer, more than 100 cameras will start recording in five Columbus neighborhoods 24 hours a day, says the Columbus Dispatch. “We have to put the bad guys in jail,” said Mayor Michael Coleman. “We have to get a handle on these homicides. We have to get a handle on these drug deals.” The city plans to spend $2 million to $2.5 million on the camera program.

During peak crime hours, security workers at City Hall will use the cameras to watch over neighborhoods in real time. The cameras will be monitored by civilian staffers because city officials want to keep police officers patrolling the streets. Gary Daniels of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said he’s seen no evidence that cameras make communities safer. “There’s a misconception that a crime is being caught on tape and the police arrive to catch the person,” he said. “That’s not what happens. By the time the police get there, it’s already over.” The cameras won’t eliminate crime on their own, but they will be an additional tool available to police, Coleman said. “It’s not a silver bullet. It’s a force multiplier, a tool we can use to reduce crime,” he said.

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