Let's make this very clear: The Boston bombings are not a reason for the Ogden Police Department to enhance is already significant video surveillance capability.
The Ogden police already have 230 surveillance cameras throughout the city, whether at trailheads, along streets and in municipal buildings. The OPD has better technology than its peers in the Weber and Davis county sheriffs' offices. There's no need to add surveillance cameras in Junction City. In fact, the OPD will soon have access to 1,000 more when the Weber County School District installs cameras in its schools.
Frankly, the large number of cameras peering into the everyday lives of citizens concerns us. One wonders how the republic survived for more than 200 years without constant photo and video surveillance of its citizens. Whatever the intentions of those doing the peeking, it's just plain wrong to monitor the activities of persons while they are strolling through town, hiking the trails, or otherwise dealing with the demands of daily life.
Nationally, this troubling trend is growing. In Chicago, there are about 22,000 surveillance cameras. In Philadelphia, the police chief is asking business owners to register their public cameras with the department. In Houston, city officials want public-private partnerships in which surveillance cameras would be installed.
It's true that the use of photos and video cameras can be a tool in catching criminals. The sheer number of photos and videos after the Boston Marathon bombings allowed the identification and capture of the two suspected bombers in about 100 hours.
Thousands of individuals offered beneficial photo and video evidence of the bombings, which provided assistance. We urge citizens and businesses to provide their cameras, if needed, when a crime occurs.
But that's different from having a constant surveillance society in which law enforcement individuals are waiting for a crime to occur.