Should There Be More Surveillance Cameras In US Cities?
Writer Farhad Manjoo argues that systematic surveillance in cities that are terrorist targets may be the simplest and best way to improve security. Besides, he says, it's not like we're not being watched already.
Videos released Thursday that clearly showed two men suspected of carrying out Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing — one of whom is on the run as of this posting — are, according to writer Farhad Manjoo, “a sign of the virtues of video surveillance.” He argues that more thought should be given to “how cameras could help prevent crimes, not just solve them once they’ve already happened.” While cities like New York and London already contain vast networks of cameras dubbed “Rings of Steel,” Boston and other major cities don’t make them a major part of public security, even though a 2011 study demonstrated that they can help reduce criminal activity with properly regulated use.
What’s the Big Idea?
To most Americans, the idea of being watched so closely feels creepy at best, and the potential for abuse is real. However, Manjoo says that “combined with competent law enforcement, surveillance cameras are more effective, less intrusive, less psychologically draining, and much more pleasant” than other security alternatives. He also argues that the existence of private security cameras as well as individuals’ personal cameras means the horse has already left the barn, so to speak: “[W]hen anything big goes down, we all willingly cede our right to privacy.”