Americans overwhelmingly favor installing video surveillance cameras in public places, judging the infringement on their privacy as an acceptable trade-off for greater security from terrorist attacks, says a new New York Times/CBS News Poll. A week after the Boston Marathon attack, which was unraveled after the release of video footage of the two suspects flushed them out of hiding, 78 percent of people said surveillance cameras were a good idea. Only 20 percent of people said they believed the government had gone too far in restricting civil liberties in the fight against terrorism, while 26 percent said it had not gone far enough and 49 percent said the balance was about right.
The receptiveness to cameras on street corners reflects a public that sees terrorism as a fact of life in the U.S. Nine out of 10 people polled said Americans would always have to live with the risk. There are lingering questions about the role of the nation's intelligence agencies before the attacks, with people divided about whether they had collected information that could have prevented them (41 percent said they had; 45 percent said they had not). The murkiness of the case produced a majority, 53 percent, saying the suspects had links to a larger terrorist group, while 32 percent said they had acted alone.