Syracuse Neighborhood Adopts Surveillance Cameras

There is some debate over the effectiveness of the surveillance cameras in reducing crime.

There is a debate in Syracuse, N.Y., over the approval of plans to install video surveillance cameras in an area of high crime.

On one side is Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who says the surveillance cameras are effective in assisting investigations into crimes. Miner pointed to the success of cameras reducing crime in another neighborhood in the city, Washington Square Park, to support her argument.

“They said when the cameras went up, it cleaned up that neighborhood almost overnight,” Miner told WRVO Public Media. “People who were behaving inappropriately all of a sudden disappeared and they didn’t come back to the neighborhood.”

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Then there’s Councilor-at-Large Jean Kessner, the only dissenter of the proposal, who believes there should be more policing in those areas as opposed to surveillance, and feels strongly that the neighborhood – located around Midland and West Ostrander Avenues – does not need to be watched.

“The question that we have never answered in any way that’s not some sort of bias is, are we safer? Have all of these cameras every place reduced crime?” asked Kessner. “In neighborhoods, I disapprove of it.”

The $150,000 proposal for the cameras will be paid for using grant money, according to the report. There are already roughly 90 surveillance cameras located across Syracuse.

The debate over privacy vs. increased surveillance is typically brought up during these types of proposals. In Ogden, Utah, surveillance cameras were installed downtown six months ago and have succeeded in reducing crime, but some are concerned over the abuse of the video footage.

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