Interactive Surveillance Map?

Interactive crime map of London (Map by James Cheshire.)

An interactive map of crime in London, May 2012 – April 2013.

Which should be titillating for tourists, etc.

A better interactive map would be of the London surveillance cameras and their fields of view.

In case you didn’t know, the number of surveillance cameras is increasing.

Ginny Sloan writes in Will More Video Surveillance Cameras Make Us Any Safer?:

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombing, Boston Police Commissioner Davis has called for more surveillance cameras, and press accounts report new calls for cameras from Richmond, Virginia to San Francisco. Mayor Emmanuel has said Chicago will keep adding cameras, and Mayor Bloomberg is warning New York City residents that more cameras are coming, scoffing at complaints that this will be “Big Brother,” and telling New Yorkers to “Get used to it!” But does the Boston investigation really teach us that what our major cities need is more cameras?

True, it was video surveillance footage from a department store camera that provided the first important clues leading to the suspects in the marathon bombing. Additional video footage from members of the public also helped police identify and apprehend the suspects. The law enforcement officials who sought and examined the video footage, and the businesses and individuals who provided their videos in response, all deserve our praise and gratitude.

But we must be careful in identifying lessons from this use of video evidence. Most importantly, we should recognize that video cameras did not, and cannot, prevent an attack like the Boston marathon bombing. Nor did the ubiquitous cameras in London, the most-surveilled city on the planet, prevent the devastating bombing attacks in that city in 2005. This is not to discredit the important role that surveillance footage has played in identifying suspects after the fact in these cases and others. Yet increasing the number of cameras in cities like Boston, or Chicago — which already has over ten-thousand cameras — would not convert the cameras into a terrorism-prevention tool. Nor is there any indication that Boston investigators were hampered by having too little video footage to examine.

I think Ginny is missing the point. Cameras are cheaper than police officers, don’t get sick, have insurance, paid vacation or retirement. No, cameras are not ever going to prevent any crimes, but then that isn’t the point.

The point is that cameras are an easy way to appear to be doing something, even if the something is ineffectual and an invasion of your privacy.

If you want to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, take pictures of surveillance cameras with a GPS enabled cellphone.

That won’t give you field of view but just having all of them located will be a major step forward.

Chicago has approximately 2.7 million residents. With 10,000 cameras, one out of every 270 people could take an image of one camera and all of their locations would be captured.

Hardly a secret, the cameras are in public view.

The freedom you regain may be your own.

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