More on Chief Hurtt's surveillance camera program

The Chronicle's Alexis Grant has more on Chief Hurtt's plan to install surveillance cameras downtown. The Houston Downtown Management District has decided where the cameras will be placed and will fund the program:

The Downtown Management District, which works to improve the central business district using taxes paid by downtown property owners, has proposed five sites for cameras at intersections on and around Main. They are high-pedestrian-traffic, not high-crime, locations, said Bob Eury, executive director of the district.

"The goal is for people to feel safe," said Eury, who compared the cameras to those at shopping malls. "We're finding new ways to make it basically safer in reality and perception."

Mayor White may not have known about Chief Hurtt's camera plan:

Mayor Bill White, who must approve the camera program for it to go into effect, said he had not yet discussed it with Hurtt.

"There's a legitimate right to privacy," White said. "On the other hand ... if there are some crime hot spots, then we want something where we don't have to have uniformed officers staring at a particular spot 24 hours a day."

Except that according to Bob Eury, these are not crime hot spots. So, is Mayor White in favor of surveillance cameras in "high-pedestrian-traffic" areas?

The City Council's Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will consider the program Feb. 28.

This committee is chaired by Councilman Adrian Garcia. Sigh.

The ACLU does not sound thrilled:

Some privacy advocates questioned whether apartment owners should be required to install cameras.

"It's radical and unheard-of," said Scott Henson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Texas Police Accountability Project.

And according to KTRK-13's coverage Chief Hurtt's plans go even further:

Chief Hurtt believes it would be cheaper to have the cameras than to hire enough police officers and have them at every street corner. He's even suggesting that those homeowners who have too many calls for service to their homes be forced to install the cameras as well.

Does Councilwoman Ada Edwards find this troubling?

How long before the LiveJournalists weigh in?

BLOGVERSATION: Grits for Breakfast, Off the Kuff.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 02/16/06 08:40 AM | Print |

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