Cities Create New Ways To Expand Neighborhood Surveillance Programs

By MassPrivateI

Cities and towns are creating new ways to expand neighborhood surveillance programs known as police cam-share programs.

An article in The Baltimore Sun revealed that the Baltimore County Council wants more businesses and homeowners to purchase CCTV surveillance equipment.

The bill would create a voluntary private security camera registry for property owners with devices pointed toward a public right-of-way, according to the proposal. The program would map where cameras are located to help detectives identify possible security footage in areas where crimes happened.

How do cities and towns expand police cam-share programs? By offering to waive permitting fees, that’s how.

That is what makes the Baltimore County Council’s Bill unique from other police cam-share programs.

The County will waive the alarm permit fee the installation of a new alarm system that includes private security or surveillance cameras or the upgrade of a current alarm system that includes such cameras.

The Baltimore County Council wants to create a neighborhood surveillance network by offering homeowners and businesses a savings of $34.00-$113.00.

Under the proposal the county would waive alarm permitting fees for new alarm system installations — which start as low as $34 for homes and $113 for commercial buildings — that include private security or surveillance cameras if the owner signs up for the registry. The county would also waive fees for any updates to current alarm systems that include those cameras.

Police SCRAM to become “Silent Partners” in neighborhood surveillance

The Baltimore Sun goes on to say that the Lansing Police Department recently created “Security Camera Registry and Mapping” or SCRAM to expand their surveillance network.

Talk about ironic, naming a police cam-share program SCRAM is exactly where a person’s privacy will go when neighbors voluntarily use CCTV cameras to monitor everyone.

The Baltimore Sun also mentioned that police in three Rhode Island towns have created cam-share programs but not one of them has offered residents discounts to monitor their neighbors.

An article in the Dunwood Crier reveals how police in Dunwoody, Georgia want businesses and residents to use license plate readers and CCTV surveillance cameras on their neighbors.

The Dunwoody Police Department has launched an initiative to make security cameras and license plate readers more efficient tools to solve and prevent crime.

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Like the Baltimore County Council, Dunwoody police have taken their police cam-share program to another level by encouraging businesses, apartment complexes and neighborhood groups to share their automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data with them.

The Dunwoody Police Department already uses about 20 fixed ALPRs in high-traffic areas to capture images of license plates and to identify stolen vehicles, stolen tags and wanted suspects. Several businesses, apartment complexes and neighborhood groups have installed their own LPRs.

The name of the Dunwoody police cam-share program is called “Silent Partners” which encourages so-called silent partners” to secretly monitor vehicles and people not suspected of committing a crime.

A City of Dunwoody video shows that the police were so happy that a homeowners association is recording everyone’s license plates that they had a sign made to thank them. (approx. 1:15)

Author Carson Cook wrote,

“Last year, we decided to invest in a license plate reader for the front of our neighborhood, and we found that it makes a big difference,” Dino Sammarco, Ashford Chase Homeowners Association president said.

Dunwoody police call their Silent Partners program, “a POWERFUL NETWORK, that creates a unified force of police department tools with private cameras and ALPRs to help solve and deter crime.”

The police department also encourages businesses, apartment complexes and neighborhood groups to use Flock Safety and Vigilant Solutions ALPRs, because they only cost around $2,000 a year.

Bringing big city police surveillance to small cities and towns simply because video doorbells, CCTV cameras and ALPR’s are cheaper is not an excuse to monitor everything we do.

The freedom to travel freely, wherever and whenever we want was fought for and earned by our forefathers. Our freedoms should not be given away based on law enforcement’s specious claims that these surveillance devices make everyone safer.


Article source: MassPrivateI Blog

Image: EFF.org

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