Ye Olde Surveillance Camera Plan

Ye Olde Surveillance Camera Plan

Gaithersburg, Maryland is considering installing surveillance cameras in its Old Town section as well as in crime hotspots, according to Kathleen Miller of the Examiner. The proposed system would also scan all license plate numbers for information, even if vehicles are not involved in infractions or suspected of involvement in crimes. 

The plate-scanner system has proven effective in nearby Baltimore, but the crime camera system as described appears useless, a waste of public funds and police time, only on the table because Gaitherburg has federal money that must be spent.

“We’re looking for smart technology that can help us with analytical things too — something we could program to flash when certain things occur, like when people run,” says Gaithersburg Police Chief John King. Experts in the field conclude meaningful real-time crime-prevention video analysis is beyond the scope of current software. The chief has either personally developed a software break-though or he has been getting all his tech advice from salesmen who specialize in wishful thinking.

Chief King says the cameras can be monitored by desk clerks in addition to their other tasks. NotionsCapital suggests that the chief work a weekend overnight shift at the precinct desk with the highest complaint rate before considering this idea one second longer.

The simple truth is that real-time video surveillance is prohibitively labor-intensive. Even forensic use of video recordings is not very effective in convicting suspects. Who says? Scotland Yard.

Ye Olde Towne image: Mike Licht fecit. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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