Have you ever had the feeling of being watched? Always looking over your shoulder? It is to be expected now, especially with all of the security cameras that are in use in some of the larger cities in the U.S. While many of us are aware that these cameras are in place for beneficial purposes, it can still be unsettling to see them on every street corner or traffic signal. San Jose, being one of those big cities that houses many security cameras around its metropolis, may start to seem more big brother-esque. How is this possible? Well thanks to a new police proposal allowing access to private residential security cameras of course. But should this raise alarms for the people of San Jose?
Obviously it would be an invasion of privacy for the police to just access without given consent, so the proposal adds that the residents would have to willingly volunteer access to their cameras. Mr. Sam Liccardo, the San Jose Councilman who proposed this in the first place, just put this volunteer video camera proposal out on the table just a few weeks ago. Should a resident wish to grant police access to their cameras, they will be able to register their security camera systems to the new San Jose Police Department Database. The ability to access these volunteer feeds means that officers will be able to footage from the closest camera after a crime has been reported from a certain area.
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Largely, San Jose has been looked at as one of the top safest cities in the country. Recently, as crime has started to rise, and officers have started to leave, the need for action has increased as well. After using volunteer surveillance footage to identify and arrest an arsonist suspect, the idea came to fruition. Not long after, came the proposal. Police officers could easily go door to door to ask for access to helpful security footage, but the time it would take could be detrimental to the time lapse of a crime. If the San Jose Police Department is understaffed, it would be next to impossible to make the door to door business possible, as they will be needed on call at all times.
It does seem a little bit like Big Brother is watching, but the San Jose Police Department is doing what they can to make sure that they respect the privacy of its residents at the same time. So long as they agree and volunteer, the police will be able to tap directly into each respective residents security camera feeds. Should the cameras be ones that run on tapes instead of being digital, the residents will have to hand over the security tapes to police instead.
While it may seem that they San Jose Police Department is doing their best to keep their residents’ privacy safe, there are a few residents who see it as a way from police to get access to home privacy. Their are obviously pros and cons to both. At the end of the day, if the police are able to justify their means of having access to the feeds, San Jose’s crime rate could see a long term benefit from this.