If you remember the “handing over” of Iraq to Iraqi authorities by the US-led coalition a few seasons ago, you may recall that, in order to prevent terrorist attacks, the ceremony was performed a day early. Yup, W, you sure pulled a fast one on them.
Well, we couldn’t help but draw the mental parallel between that auspicious day and the rolling-out of new police cameras three days ahead of schedule, perhaps to zigzag the efforts of the official opposition, the Toronto Public Space Committee. In the Committee’s open letter to the Mayor, they write:
First and foremost, there is ample evidence from other jurisdictions that CCTV cameras do not succeed in deterring crime. A sampling of the ever-growing library of reports and studies concerning CCTV camera usage will quickly reveal that cameras have no effect on the amount of crime in the targeted jurisdiction.
They go on to talk about privacy issues, the expense, and the possible negative effects on democratic expression.
The new camera project is funded by the province, sort of. The devices themselves, at $130,000 a pop, are being paid for by our good friends at Queen’s Park. The burden of maintaining them, however, is on the City. This itself is controversial because council actually had little input in the matter: this project, with no real public (or neighbourhood) consultation, is being coordinated by an un-elected body: the Toronto Police Services Board.
The cameras will be in place for 6 months in the Entertainment District, Scarborough and North York while the pilot is in effect, but given the city’s past experience with “pilot projects” like the Megabin, it would not surprise us if they continued to stay up after the pilot’s expiry. Maybe now they will be able to stop guerrilla poets from holding spontaneous slams using the camera in front of Chapters (shown right).
To learn more about voicing your opinion, see the TPSC’s website and Facebook group.