All of us know about the terrible homicide rate in the Bay Area. We have all touched either directly or indirectly by the devastating outbreak of violence that is occurring in our communities, whether we live in San Francisco, Oakland or elsewhere in the Bay area. But what are our cities doing to combat the violence? Well, San Francisco has an answer. The city will be installing 22 surveillance cameras, to join the 33 already posted, at seven high crime intersections, at the cost of $275,000.
Just how much proof is there to illustrate that the cameras are an effective deterrent? Well, thatâ€™s one of the problems. There just isnâ€™t enough data to illustrate the effectiveness of the cameras. But, according to Alan Nance, the acting director of the Mayorâ€™s Office of Criminal Justice, part of the reason for the installation is to study the deterrent effects. But the question is, to what extent is the city willing to possibly violate peopleâ€™s rights, to obtain the data needed? Does the need for data outweigh the threat to oneâ€™s privacy? How about oneâ€™s freedom of speech? Mark Schlosberg, the Police Policy Director of the ACLU believes that the cameras might prevent people from participating in political demonstrations for fear that they will be caught on tape.
Hmmm. Makes one stop and think, doesnâ€™t it? Just what will they use the tapes for? We all want to live in safer communities, and I think we can all agree that something has got to give, but is that â€œsomethingâ€ our civil rights?
On January 17, 2007, the San Francisco Police Commission will be meeting to hear public comment and to vote on the installation of the surveillance cameras. They want to hear from not only the communities that will be affected, but from all who want to not only deter crime from happening in their neighborhoods, but also want to protect our civil rights from being violated. Come out and lend your voice in support of our communities!!