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City Of Dallas Installing Surveillance Cameras

CBS | November 17, 2006
Jay Gormley

DALLAS The first of many surveillance cameras has been installed in downtown Dallas. Once the system is up and running, the Dallas Police Department will be able to monitor 30-percent of the business district.

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle says, "It will create an environment where people know they can't do anything unlawful in the central business district, because the fact that the cameras are going to take away their anonymity."

Some agree with Dallas police and believe the cameras will deter crime and, but for others the surveillance system is raising concerns.

"I think we're getting to a point where we value safety over freedom, and it makes me very uncomfortable," said Dallas resident, Ellen Dowd.

Legal experts say there's not much you can do. "Clearly this is a public forum. So it's perfectly legal for this type of surveillance to take place," says Christine Eason of the ACLU. "It's really more of an issue of whether people are willing to accept this type of activity, in exchange for what may be a false sense of security.”

Residents like Jason Dunlap welcome the cameras. "I think it's cool. I think it will bring a lot of the crime down. A lot of this stuff happens because no one is paying attention."

Downtown Dallas isn't the only area that's going to be under a watchful eye… neighborhoods surrounding Fair Park are next on the list. Nearly 17 cameras are slated to be up and running by spring 2007.

Deep Ellum is also pushing for overhead cameras to repair its crime image. "If you put the cameras in the right place and you let everyone know they're on TV. They won't do it," said Barry Annino, Deep Ellum Association.

In cases such as the London bombings of 2005, cameras proved to be an asset in catching the terrorists.

Realistically, both supporters and critics agree that it's only a matter of time before every neighborhood in Dallas is 'caught on tape'.


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