There are still cases wherein individuals who have been accused for certain privacy are still being abused and this really isn’t the right thing and it isn’t supposed to happen. According to Ivan Hoffman (2001), all people, no matter what country they are in have rights to privacy. However, with the advent of technology, especially with the birth of the internet and other modern security and law enforcement gadgets, that right to privacy may soon face more attacks and other offense coming from security and law enforcement agencies. Among the best and most common example of such gadgets would be law enforcement cameras. This paper aims to present a detailed comparison between public safety value of law enforcement cameras and their possible implication on everyone’s right to privacy.
The first question that pops right inside my head is whether police cameras are really effective in reducing the crime rate, especially when they are installed in places with the highest crime rates? Can they even be a factor that criminals would first consider before they commit any crime?
In an article posted by Jennifer Lee (2005), she stated that in New York, the NYPD (New York Police Department) was about to install 400 more surveillance law enforcement cameras because they want to cover as many high traffic and high crime rate areas in the city through these digital videotape-based cameras.
However, this could be a normal reaction or behavior that we could expect from these law enforcers because this particular implementation is their project in the first place and most likely, they will be its number one proponent. However, some citizens in New York City especially the ones who live near the places where surveillance cameras would be installed responded accordingly. What usually concern these people is the possible compromise on their privacy, which for some, could be a very big deal. In the same source by Jennifer Lee (2005), there was an example where there was a man who carried a gun and killed himself and all that the cameras were able to do was to capture the video.
However, according to Tanneeru (2007), there were cases where these cameras and other gadgets could really help law enforcement agencies do their job more effectively and they used the attempted attacks of three subway trains in New York City as an example. The investigation of this case was, according to the sources, significantly hastened, thanks to these cameras.
So, to answer the question whether law enforcement cameras could really make the current security and law enforcement system more effective or not, the answer, based from the sources, would be yes, cameras could be a helpful tool for law enforcers despite their potential compromise in privacy. All that the law enforcement agencies have to consider are the limitations with regards to the use of these cameras such as the proper location where they could put these gadgets so that privacy wouldn’t be an issue at all anymore.
Hoffman, Ivan. Rights of Privacy. 2001. December 2011.
Lee, Jennifer. New York Police Wants 400 More Surveillance Cameras. May 31, 2005.
December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/31/nyregion/31camera.html.
Tanneeru, Manav. Ring of Steel Coming to New York. CNN. August 2007. December 2011.