The city of Lemon Grove is starting a surveillance program created in the county of San Diego, California.
“City is first in San Diego County to use new technology. By the end of this month, Lemon Grove will become the pilot site for a video surveillance program called “SafeSanDiego-Lemon Grove.” Under the new system, nine cameras will be mounted on poles in some of the city’s public parks and at a busy intersection.”sandiegouniontribune.com
The adoption of this program where constant video surveillance of city parks and specific traffic intersections is designed to give law enforcement the ability to reduce criminal activities. This program was designed and built to help the community, it’s been made and adopted for the greater good. This premise of safety and security was what potentially sold the community leaders into making this choice. The potential outcome could be a positive one, although the other side of the coin is the removal of privacy, and is the loss of public privacy worth the gain of reduction of crime? Is constant surveillance worth the loss of public privacy? Some might say no, and some might say yes – what is interesting is the leaders of our community did not include public input for this decision.
“Under the new system, nine cameras will be mounted on poles in some of the city’s public parks and at a busy intersection. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is footing the cost and so far has spent about $35,000.”sandiegouniontribune.com
For a city that is already struggling with its budget issues, is it one that should spend funds to implement this project? The initial cost is being funded by the Sheriff’s department, although the idea that this new program won’t eventually be funded by the city itself is delusional. There is uncertainty from the public as to whether this decision is the best for the city. The question is should a city have the authority to make this type of decision without public approval? Do you think that integration of constant surveillance is decided on our behalf, or should we have some sort of say as to whether it should be applied? Various unspecified details such as where the data will be stored, how secure will this data be, who will be able to access this data, how long will this data be stored, and how will this data be used are just some of the things that the public should be aware of – transparency so people have peace of mind that this change won’t negatively affect the public.
The Four Problems With Public Video SurveillanceThese are four problems with public video surveillance that the ACLU highlights:1. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN EFFECTIVE2. CCTV IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ABUSE3. THE LACK OF LIMITS OR CONTROLS ON CAMERAS USE4. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE WILL HAVE A CHILLING EFFECT ON PUBLIC LIFEDiscussed in detail in an article written on the ACLU’s website: ACLU.org“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
Is giving up freedom for security the right move for the city of Lemon grove?
Some of the concerns with this new method of surveillance is summarized by this tweet by Bishop: The answer to poverty crimes is more surveillance. Law Enforcement only do this in places that a lot of Black people live.
“Sheriff’s Department to begin video camera program in Lemon Grove” https://t.co/EkO6fwkBCP— Bishop Cornelius Bowser Sr. (@Tshombe77) September 9, 2020
Maybe this decision will lead to a reduction of crime in the city, and if that is the outcome then possibly it is the best move for the city to make at this time. If this potential positive outcome is the ultimate outcome then fantastic.