Private Surveillance Cameras Catching More Criminals

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Private Surveillance Cameras Solving Crimes

In Washington, D.C. police are trying to encourage businesses operating private surveillance cameras to quickly pull their footage following a crime in the area to help detectives.

"If [private businesses] obtain footage that may be useful in solving a case, we would review it and follow up accordingly," Gwendolyn Crump told ABCNews.com, pointing out that footage is shared with the public on the department's YouTube Page.

Police in Worcester, Mass., are seeking to have the city's private businesses feed their footage into their video surveillance center. Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said that the footage will not be viewed regularly, but accessed when a crime is committed.

The public seems to be largely on board with this concept. In March 2012 an interactive poll of 850 adults conducted by JZ Analytics indicated that 86 percent of adults expect private business surveillance video to help law enforcement identify suspects and solve crimes. Over half of those polled even said that businesses should be responsible to ensure that their cameras are functioning properly.

But the opposition feels that the "surveillance society" in which our every move is monitored and recorded is a violation of constitutional rights. Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, spoke last year on the issue at the Fort Worth Lecture Foundation, as reported by the Star –Telegram.

"The courts have long prevented, under the Fourth Amendment, the government conducting private surveillance," Turley said. "But this effort all over the country to encourage private companies to create surveillance systems so that the information can be handed over to the government is a circumvention of the Constitution. This is changing who we are and our expectation of privacy."

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