The city of Buffalo has 125 surveillance cameras on its street corners and public areas. This is up from 60 just a few years ago. They want more and are consistently talking about how great the cameras are in an effort to gain support, and potential funding.
According to BuffaloNews.com, the cameras have critics but the general public is warming up to them. In particular, business owners are requesting cameras be installed near their establishments as they believe the devices truly do deter crime, while providing peace of mind to the customers.
As if the cameras weren’t enough, however, the city is now posting signs at each of the 125 locations. The signs will read, “This Area Monitored by Police Surveillance Cameras.” As one critic says, however, those who would be deterred by the cameras already know too well where the cameras are.
“Everyone knows the camera is there. Trust me…. The sign isn’t going to make a difference. The sign isn’t a deterrent. The camera is a deterrent.”
Not everyone would agree with that particular statement, however, as another defense lawyer points out “If you put a camera on a corner with a big sign saying you’re being watched, crime will move off that corner. But it will simply go to another corner.”
Sure there are cases where the cameras did help gain a conviction or one instance where the cameras spotted a man with a knife and police were able to respond and arrest the man before it potentially became a violent scene. But are these 3,4, or 5 cases worth the expense of the cameras on the budget and the lives of the people?
The cameras are intrusive. They monitor everyone who walks passed them. If they were monitoring a specific suspect or a specific group on a specific corner, that would be another story. But instead, they are watching all of Buffalo.
Officials say they work. They don’t have any evidence that crime has fallen because of the cameras because crime is falling everywhere. One citizen, who works inside of a building that has a camera outside said it well, “The cameras we have are helping to deter it, and while I don’t have statistics to prove it, my good sense tells me crime is decreasing.”
The chances of you getting arrested for something that was caught on camera are pretty slim. Not only because no one in their right mind would knowingly commit an offense on camera but because the cameras don’t always provide usable footage. However, evidence is evidence and understanding the integrity of the evidence against you can help your attorney determine the likelihood that you would be convicted if the case goes to trial.
If you are facing criminal charges in New York state, whether or not there is camera footage, you need someone on your side. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case and how we might be able to help.