More mid-size communities are installing surveillance video cameras, borrowing the idea from big metro areas, says USA Today. Saginaw, Mi., population 55,238, installed 17 video cameras at a water/skate park and plans to add more by June in other parts of the city, says Mayor Greg Branch. “Crime for us is trending downward, but we still have a lot more crime than we want,” he says. Another factor: Cameras are cheaper than hiring more cops. A $300,000 federal grant will pay for the new cameras.
Big cities like New York, Washington, and Chicago use cameras to monitor high-crime and busy areas, and many businesses have them inside and outside. Law Prof. Dan Kobil of Capital University in Columbus says courts have ruled that people have no expectation of privacy in public settings. As technology allows more precise and pervasive images to be collected, he says courts likely will revisit the issue. The American Civil Liberties Union this week asked the Chicago City Council to halt expansion of its camera program.