It’s a terrible story from New York. A woman, walking in a Brooklyn housing project is grabbed and then raped by someone she believes is from the neighborhood. Though the housing project is blanketed by 200 cameras, police see nothing.
From the New York Daily News:
The sicko was caught on up to 30 minutes of video, but only about two-and-a-half minutes actually played on the monitors cops were watching, sources said.
“Either they saw it and did nothing, which seems hard to believe, even for this unmotivated crew. Or they were busy looking at something else. Or they were asleep, which seems most likely,” said a police source familiar with the lapse.
It’s a tragedy and, unfortunately, far from an isolated incident.
Surveillance cameras should be a deterrent, but they really aren’t. Often, all they provide is a retrospective look at what was missed.
I have a suggestion: make the cameras available to everyone.
Seriously. If they’re looking at a public space, open them up. Put them on the Internet or put them on the cable TV feed that goes to this project. Someone will watch!
Actually, it shouldn’t be limited to these housing project cameras. If they’re publicly funded and looking at a public space, every camera possible should be made available.
There are cameras all over New Haven (as an example). I have no idea where they go or who, if anyone, is monitoring. Put them on the Internet!
As with cellphones, which have undoubtedly saved lives as accidents and incidents are more easily and more rapidly reported to police, the democratization of cameras will achieve the same result.
If this idea seems half baked or invasive to you, please post a comment and let me know. Right now, I think I’m on to something.