Connie Paige
Boston Globe
April 24, 2008

Over the past few years, some patrons of Lexington’s Cary Memorial Library have had the misfortune of encountering a person exposing himself.

Five such incidents, along with vandalism that destroyed about $13,000 worth of property, prompted library officials and police to consider installing surveillance cameras, which increasingly are being used by local authorities to help maintain law and order and to keep property losses to a minimum, they said.

“We can’t provide enough staff to be paying attention at all times,” said library director Connie Rawson. “I think all public libraries are struggling with the same issues.”

A number of communities in the region, including Lexington, already use surveillance cameras in the streets, public buildings, or schools to deter vandalism and other crimes, or gather intelligence information, raising concern among critics that the cameras threaten civil liberties. Some communities have them in multiple locations for multiple purposes. Lawrence High School has 300 cameras trained on students and staff.

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