There are already government closed-circuit TV systems in cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a member of both the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, said the nation needs even more video cameras in public places.
“They’re a great law enforcement method and device,” the congressman told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell the day after the bombing. “It keeps us ahead of the terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us.”
Except these great law enforcement methods and devices didn’t keep anyone ahead of terrorists last week in Boston.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told the Washington Post Friday that the Boston bombings are “Exhibit A of why the homeland is the battlefield,” and that it would have been “nice to have a drone up there” to help track the suspects, brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
How can you track suspects with a drone when 1) you didn’t even know they were suspects or what they were up to and 2) didn’t actually find them with drones, they came out and found the police. No amount of cameras is going to prevent crime from occurring. It didn’t during the London riots of 2011 nor did it stop the 7/7 bombings and it’s not going to help in preventing a terrorist attack anywhere in the United States.
CCTV undermines everyone’s privacy, while diverting resources from approaches that have a much higher impact on reducing crime and improving public safety, or is used by lazy officials as a way to placate the public who want something done to make their neighborhood safer.
Sadly, after the events of Boston, Americans will likely surrender more freedoms so that they can “feel” a little bit safer instead of investing money in more officers that can actually help prevent crime.