Just Watch Me
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Just Watch Me

“Oh my God, my blow-up doll has been brutally murdered!” shrieked the young woman from the southeast corner of John and Richmond as she clutched her fake-blood-soaked inflatable companion. “My only friend, and someone brutally shot her! The horror! Why hasn’t the police security camera done anything about it?!”
Early Saturday afternoon, the Toronto Public Space Committee‘s Cameras in Public Spaces campaign performed this bit of street theatre in the Entertainment District. It was intended to highlight the ineffectiveness of CCTV [PDF], especially when compared with live, on-the-ground police officers, who are able to respond to emergencies and not just bear witness. Not that the cameras have even proven effective at doing that; two shootings have taken place at intersections where cameras had been installed (December 30 at Yonge and Gould and July 22 at Adelaide and Duncan), and in neither case did footage lead to an arrest. In the former instance, for example, the person was recorded being shot, but the perpetrator was not recorded doing the shooting. If the $100 000 to $150 000 spent on the camera had been used to hire a police officer instead, he or she would presumably have been able to react to the incident more effectively. Perhaps the shooter would have been caught, and perhaps the victim (who had been struck in the leg) would not have had to drag himself to St. Michael’s Hospital.
In a letter responding to an Eye Weekly editorial that is no longer online due to a broken link, TPSC campaign coordinator Daniel Quinn says that police “would seemingly prefer to watch people get shot on TV than prevent the shooting in the first place. If the ‘test’ for this program’s effectiveness is, in fact, this recent [July 22nd] shooting within the view of a camera, then I would suggest that the project is already a failure—unless we’ve collectively decided that the role of the police is not to protect, but to prosecute.”
More photos after the jump.
Jonathan Goldsbie is a campaigner with the TPSC, but pretty much sticks to the advertising-related stuff. All photos (except the last one) by Torontoist’s Miles Storey. Final photo by the TPSC’s Stephen Young, from his Flickr set.