Lining up for Federal grant money intended for broadband expansion is Atlanta officials seeking to add about 500 surveillance cameras to street corners throughout the city. Some question the purpose and the effectiveness of these cameras, but officials point to the few dozen already in place and their reported positive impact.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the city of Atlanta is seeking $13.7 million to add 500 cameras to public areas around the city. These cameras are said to be an appropriate use of taxpayer money because of their supposed ability to assist in the prevention and prosecution of crime.
Critics liken the cameras to a high tech and highly invasive Big Brother, keeping the government’s eyes on our every move. But the city and surveillance advocates point out the cameras are only used in public places where there is no expectation of privacy.
The AJC article points to other cities like Baltimore and Chicago that use such cameras in crime prevention. The argument is that neighborhoods where cameras are present saw a decrease in crime. What the statistics don’t address is if the crime actually stopped or simply moved up the street, out of the camera’s view.
However, camera footage from the already existing Atlanta surveillance system has reportedly been used in court to identify suspects and has also been used to notify police of suspicious activity.
The new cameras, if approved and funding comes through, will allegedly add 69 full time jobs to the city’s roster, the people tasked with monitoring the cameras throughout all hours. In addition, people will be hired to maintain the cameras, which are estimated to cost $3.2 million annually for maintenance.
The article specifically cites larcenies and violent crimes as highly preventable with the use of surveillance cameras. However, there is no way to know if the crimes are being totally prevented or simply moving elsewhere.
Footage from surveillance cameras can be a useful tool for the prosecution in a criminal case. Like all other evidence, however, it should be scrutinized with care by your defense attorney.
Whether or not there is camera footage of you committing a crime, the prosecution must have some evidence to move forward. If you are facing theft, drug, or DUI charges, I know I can be of assistance. Contact me today to discuss the details of your case and to talk about the evidence that may be used against you in court.