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Should Lexington Invest In Surveillance Cameras? Weighing The Pros & Cons

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 4/26/2013 6:42 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

The Boston Marathon bombing reinvigorated the debate about surveillance cameras. 

Lexington has about 80 traffic cameras.  They don't record, and police don't use them.  Government buildings have surveillance cameras inside and out, and somebody monitors them 24/7.

After the Boston Marathon bombing, authorities zeroed in on Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev from surveillance video.  The footage came from a private business' camera.

In the wake of the bombings, should we have more surveillance cameras?  Some people think they're a great thing, keeping the eye of the law watching.  others feel like it's just Big Brother.

"The compelling arguments there about the privacy rights and the exercise of freedom of activities and assembly really, to me, outweigh the benefits," said Clay Mason, Lexington Public Safety Commissioner.

Mason doesn't recommend the city invest in more cameras.  He says they're expensive to install, maintain, and require man power.  Most of all, the former FBI Agent doesn't believe they prevent crime.

"The cameras were still there, and the terrorist act still occurred," said Mason.

Bryan Bates sells surveillance systems for a living.  The latest technology allows cameras to communicate, and capture a license plate.  You can even monitor the camera on an iPad.  You can also replay video, while watching the live feed, but Bates says he sometimes has to talk people out of buying a video surveillance system.

"Typically people think that you're going to get much better ID quality, that the police are going to be able to respond better than they possibly can to a video that's been captured, said Bates, from Bates Security.

Bates and Mason agree video surveillance systems give law enforcement an excellent investigating tool, but don't expect to see government security cameras popping up all over town.
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Ranger2 - 4/26/2013 5:29 PM
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Cameras are needed at most intersections. So they can catch the idiots running red lights.
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