The Greensboro City Council voted unanimously in favor of adding 15 cameras to the system already being used by the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) at the Tuesday, Sept. 6 meeting.
The GPD currently has 10 cameras that are primarily used to read license plates and Interim Police Chief Teresa Biffle said that the cameras have been useful in solving crimes and that she would follow-up with specific instances.
There was one speaker in opposition to increasing the number of GPD cameras who asked for a break-down of race, ethnicity and gender of those who had been photographed by the cameras.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “A lot of neighborhoods have asked me if they could have cameras.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “I certainly understand the need. A lot of community watches in my community have asked for them.”
She added, “We don’t want them all in one district because crime is everywhere.”
Biffle said that they had cameras in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 but none in District 4.
Councilmember Hugh Holston said, “The deterrent effect is also important.”
Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson, who was presiding at the meeting because Mayor Nancy Vaughan was at a conference in Utah, said, “I’ve had a lot of people ask for those as well.”
She added that the license plate cameras had been used to find the person who shot a member of her family.
At the end of the discussion Lewis Pitts asked if he could speak on the topic even though he had not signed up.
Johnson said, “It’s up to the council.”
From the council a lot of “noes” were heard and no councilmember asked that Pitts be allowed to speak and he was not.
The cameras are owned and operated by Flock Group Inc., but the locations for the 15 additional cameras were selected by the GPD.
How I miss individual privacy and freedom.
Nothing is private when you’re in public, which is where the cameras are placed and where the target vehicles are being recorded. All it does is replace having to put an officer on the corner looking out for a particular license plate. If they want to find stolen car with license xxx-12345, the camera system waits for it to drive by one of its locations and then notifies the police. There is nothing invasive about the system. It does nothing that a set of eyes on a public street could not do. Sure it could be used for malicious intent, but so can everything in the world.
Do you ALWAYS take up for the police, in every instance and in every single context?
Are you a law enforcement officer, or a former one? Tell us. Be honest.
I am not sticking up for anyone, just correcting you about “privacy” in a public place. I can put my own camera anywhere there is a police camera as long as it’s recording in a public place and not peeping into someone’s house or some area with an expectation of privacy. A car on the street harbors no such expectation. If you want to pick your nose while you drive and I want to film it from across the road, there isn’t much you can do about it. Regardless of the police, any person can film anyone else in public because there is no expectation of privacy there. That is a “freedom” I, you, the police, and anyone else possesses.
Austin- If you needed assistance, fire, ambulance, police would you call them? They are ALL government entities. Isn’t it great our first amendment? Oh by the way that is also a government function as is the rest of our constitution of the United States.
Yes, there are bad cops. The majority are good and do protect the public, such as you and I. I believe every district should have cameras in the community to assist in lowering crime. The majority of cameras should be strategically located in high crime ares. Are Hightower and Wells districts the highest crime in the city? I f they do not want them, one has to wonder what are THEY hiding, who are THEY protecting? Certainly not the law abiding citizens.
Sure a fine line between privacy and protection. They would used to aid the police and courts to identify offenders for prosecution.
If one is doing nothing wrong why does one have to worry?
I agree, Austin Morris. We have totally entered the world of Minority Report. Although these cameras will only be used to find stolen cars and cars used in crimes I suspect many of us who do no wrong feel uneasy as to the ability of future government officials to remember the original intent for which the cameras were obtained.
Thanks, Deborah. As The Founding Fathers understood, government cannot be trusted. As just one example, also relating to motoring, do you remember when they first imposed the mandatory seatbelt law? I do.
They swore up & down that it would only ever be a “secondary offence”, so that we need never fear of being pulled over or apprehended for that transgression alone. The officer might just add it on if you’d been stopped for some other reason.
Five years later they were getting in our face with “Click it or Ticket” public threats to law abiding citizens going about their business (paid for with our tax money). Then they began setting up road blocks to harass us on the same pretext. Then they imposed Driving Licence “Points” for driving unbuckled – as if it could possibly harm anyone else – despite explicitly promising that this would never happen.
Government lies. It can never be trusted, except to deceive us.
I’m a lot of people, too. Can I have a security camera on my street?
Put’em all in EAST Greensboro