There’s been a kind of ongoing conversation about a slew of LAPD surveillance cameras that have been installed around Hollywood. I’m of the opinion that they don’t make a shred of difference and in fact make us less safe. Not everyone agrees, but that’s where the discussion comes in. Since we’ve been talking about the LAPD today and just to keep that going, I thought I’d point out an interesting article on the subject that addresses some of my concerns. There are some great comments following the article, as well as on Bruce Schneier’s blog where I found the link.
1. Human beings are creative and criminals actively try to get around or disable surveillance.
2. Police have limited resources.
3. If cameras are being monitored, police resources are being directed wherever the cameras are being focused. I’m not just talking about time spent by the video-monitor watchers, but where patrol units are sent to respond. By definition, that excludes every other portion of the world where they aren’t looking, which is inevitably SOMEWHERE (or if cameras are everywhere, then you get lapses like in the Atlanta case), so because of (1) above, criminals are inevitably able to adjust to the new environment.