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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is That All There Is?

The latest hullabaloo to hit Wilkes-Barre involves the city's video camera surveillance system.  Let me digress for a moment.  Doesn't it always seem like there's a hullabaloo over something in Wilkes-Barre.  Back to topic:  Many feel the cameras did a lousy job of capturing images of the car that struck and killed a five year old boy December 21st.  The photos released to the public were from private cameras, not the ones owned by the city.

It's a touchy topic with police and the administration.  They don't like to talk about it.  The district attorney defended the city's operation.

I've seen some of the images from city cameras on prior incidents, and I can't say I'm impressed.  We live in a high tech, high definition, digital age.  There has to be a better product out there.

Wilkes-Barre is not alone.  Surveillance images from Walmart shoplifters and mini mart robberies are frequently on the news.  Some are good.  Most are awful.  I fear the poor quality of some of the pictures encourages robberies because the thieves know the cameras won't get a good look at them.

Plus, there's something not spoken about in the surveillance world.  A lot of mini mart cameras have the best angles saved for pictures of the clerks, so they won't steal.  Ownership is okay with losing $ 50 in an armed robbery.  A shifty clerk can do a lot more damage over a longer period of time.

You also have to ask if streetside cameras really are a deterrent to crime.  There's evidence to suggest the answer is "no."  There are places in Wilkes-Barre one does not dare venture after dark, even with cameras around.

Here's looking at you!