September 21, 2010

If they get the go-ahead from city lawmakers, Syracuse police will introduce the city’s first around-the-clock surveillance cameras on the Near West Side, a neighborhood targeted because of the high number of gunshots reported...Without more evidence that cameras make a difference, Syracuse should pause before putting them in the community, said Barrie Gewanter, director of the Central New York chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Gewanter said she wants the city to adopt legislation to ensure that surveillance cameras cannot be used to violate the privacy rights of individuals. The city also should have rules for how long surveillance videos will be retained, who has access to them and how they can be used, she said. “There need to be a lot of checks and balances in place before we just go ahead and install cameras all over the place,” Gewanter said. “In a lot of places, our laws lag behind our technology, and we grab for the technology because we think it’s going to give us a leg up in fighting crime.”