City installs cameras for safety

Register
Aug 20, 2013

My topic this week is about the amount of cameras being used by City Hall.

The city tells us we have a tight budget but right after it inks the union contract, miraculously, money starts to appear from almost nowhere. We are now expending $32,000 for cameras in and around City Hall all in the name of safety. There will be a total of 28 cameras with 16 cameras on the police side of the building and 12 cameras on the city side of the building. I think the city has out done itself with the cameras. I wonder if they will have audio connected with them. It seems the only sacred place will be the restrooms when visiting City Hall. So, when you enter the city building, there will be cameras on you at all times.

It has been several weeks since the license plate reader discussions took place and still no decision on whether or not the police department is going to discontinue the spying permanently. It doesn’t look hopeful that the cameras will be discontinued since they are taking so long to make up their minds whether or not to remove them. It just so happens that the police car that has the reader on it was involved in an accident and the reader was taken off the car. The car and reader are temporary off the road for now.

There doesn’t seem to be any follow-up of what the commissioners discuss so they can arrive at a decision and take the proper action needed. All that takes place is talk and more talk. Just give the order and have staff follow through with some kind of conclusion.

The license plate legislation was not clearly identified. It was misrepresented to the commissioners when they voted on the piece of legislation. The commissioners need to make up their mind whether or not they are going to reverse their vote.

Until next week, I think if establishments are going to use cameras, it should be disclosed upon entering any building that cameras are being used and the person can make the choice as to whether they want to do business with the establishment. Establishments are camera happy and they make up any excuse to justify the spying.

Comments

Huron_1969

"Establishments are camera happy and they make up any excuse to justify the spying"
Yea, stop those banks and retailers from spying! It's none of their business to know who is robbing them
I frequently agree with Sharon and admire people who advocate for the community..... but not this time

The Answer Person

WOW, either you are totally up to something when you enter an establishment or just psychotically paranoid? All of this "spying" and camera paranoia is just that. If you are not doing antyhing WRONG, then you have no reason to feel invaded nor paranoid. To that end, I guess you endorse the terrorists in Boston where thank GOD we had cameras or otherwise they would have been long gone, right? What a stupid editorial!

MrSandusky

How long is this travesty of a Blog going to go on before the Register finally wises up and pulls the plug.

gramafun

100+

bnjjad

All of this spying? pretty sure if you step foot on private property they can "spy" on you all they want. As for City Hall, cameras should be placed there so they can keep track of visitors and unwanted guests. Get over it.

"Establishments are camera happy and they make up any excuse to justify the spying." - Well considering most of them have been robbed or shoplifted from or are very likely to have that done to them, they have a right to protect them and their interests.

gramafun

cameras in public buildings are used frequently and calling them "spy" cameras is like calling a duck a swan. Why not have them for safety? Where the people in the city building not worried about saftey and complaining about it not too long ago? Now they can catch the people responsible should anything go wrong again with a picture of any "perp" if the cameras are on. I don't call that "spying" I call that due diligence. Sorry, Sharon, you missed the boat on this one.

As for the police cars, would the police recommendations to the commissioners be absolutely necessary to make an informed decision.

Isn't that the responsibility of the chief of police and the sheriff, not so much the city commissioners?

BDupler

If someone were to say that they slipped and fell on the property of the City Building, and then sued the city for it, Sharon would be the first one to say that the city should have cameras installed to make sure it was not a fraudulent claim, and claim that it was the fault of certain city leaders. It is easy to be correct when all you do is Monday morning Quarterback.

The blog seriously hurts the Register's "brand". I too wonder why it shows up week after week.

mikeylikesit

what surprises me is the poor quality photos and video most security cameras turn out. is it just cheap equipment? I would think businesses, especially banks, would have the best cameras available. my cheap Samsung flip phone takes better pics than most security cameras..

bnjjad

It is slowly getting better. The problem was being able to store that much video. High quailty video takes alot of storage space and storage space can get expensive. Some good Video equipment is also expensive and most businesses cannot afford to replace the equipment regularly to have the best of the best.

Webster

This blog should be titled "If I only had a life" most public building have security cameras to protect both the goverment employees and the public. For someone with all the answers why hasn't Sharon ran for public office?

Kaisom33

"The city tells us we have a tight budget but right after it inks the union contract, miraculously, money starts to appear from almost nowhere. We are now expending $32,000 for cameras in and around City Hall all in the name of safety." I think Sharon miss titled her article.

grandmasgirl

I know that Sharon went a little overboard, but I think the jest of her article is the fact that the city says they have no money, but then it appears out of nowhere. I agree with her as far as the amount of cameras go. Why does any building need that many? I should think one or two, trained on the entrance and exits would be enough.

2cents

Who watches 28 cameras? LMAO, that would get old and so much will be missed. You are better off just looking at people in person and profiling them in person!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

In the interest of disclosure then I will declare that I have at least 12 cameras up at my store to make sure not only the product on the shelves is safe but so too are the attendees who come to the events. Ok, well, I may not be directly revealing. I did say at least 12...heh-heh.

buckeye15

It is the one above the toilet stall that made me quit coming in your store.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

At least it wasn't the one in the toilet that upset you!

Though in seriousness I hope you aren't being serious when you say that as none of my cameras do that.

Contango

Re: "toilet stall"

Just use the loo before you leave home.

SamAdams

It's been repeatedly ruled in the courts that you do not have the expectation of privacy when you're in public. And whether I like it or not, they're right. "Public" means just that. And really, does anything get a whole lot more public than City offices? The bottom line is that if others might very well witness you sitting there picking your nose, you've lost nothing of your "privacy" when a camera catches you doing the same thing.

I don't like cameras on private premises much, either. But what of the Fifth Amendment that gives property owners certain rights? If property owners install cameras, I may not be thrilled about it, but they're well within their rights to do so! Frankly, I'm far more likely to boycott going inside a "gun free zone" than I am worried about cameras. If I'm really just there to do business, I don't see that it makes a material difference.

Now if the cameras in stores and on the streets start following individuals and tracking them without sufficient cause for the warrant that ought to be required, that's a whole 'nother issue! That was, after all, the objection to all of the "phishing" going on with the license plate readers! But this? Not so much.

Sharon DOES make ONE valid point: Either the City had the money to spend, or it didn't. $32,000 isn't much in the grand scheme of a budget like a City has, but it's more than enough to justify the question as far as the expenditure goes, especially when the City continues to plead poverty concerning far smaller matters.

Yellow Snow

Am I the only one who finds this intrusive? What would happen if I started videoing inside any of these places? There is a fast food window in Norwalk that has posted on their drive-thru window "no cameras or recording allowed" Wasn't that long ago if you were seen taking pictures of bridges or landmarks you might be stopped or questioned. If law enforcement stops me can I too video the encounter?

Fromthe419

There are lots of videos of LE stops on youtube. You are well within your rights to video any interaction you have with law enforcement, 99 percent of the time they are recording their interaction with you.

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Will these cameras catch all the sneaky back door shenanigans commited by our illustrious city officials

rjk1915

I don't care whether I'm on camera; I haven't done anything. Why is being on camera any different from being seen live ?

The Bizness

Think about this....

If these cameras stop 20 vandalism crimes in their life time that would cost over $1,500.00 each to repair then they in a away pay for themselves. Not to mention if they stop attempted robberies, confrontations, and who knows what else. Not everyone will stop when they see the camera but it will at least make many think twice.

I also liked the idea that if someone slips and "falls" and tries to sue they could have documentation that it did or didn't happen as stated.

The Answer Person

The best thing about these articles is the reinforcement of the opinion the citizens have of her annoying blather. For some reason the irony of this article about camera concerns makes me laugh out loud...especially when I look at the author's PICTURE with her squinting into the sun. Looks like one of those awful pics from a vacation that you throw away!

Darkhorse

What is this thing about liability all of the sudden? The city states they can't be sued so why are we putting up barricades all over the town if we can't be sued and taking extra precaution about this and that? The city recently switched insurance companies and I am wondering if all the extra precaution of liability isn't coming from the insurance company. If it is coming from the insurance company, I think they are going to put us in the poor house trying to cover ourselves so they don't have to pay out.

Centauri

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u...
Funny and Crazy Things Caught on Security Cam