TODAY'S QUESTION: Will you vote for or against having surveillance cameras in downtown Columbia?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | 11:15 a.m. CST

The City Council voted on Monday to put the issue of allowing cameras downtown on the April 2010 ballot.

Karen Taylor, whose adult son was attacked in a downtown parking garage, started the petition to submit the ordinance.

"You know that the community at large supports this issue, and even one violent crime like what happened to my son is too much," she said at the council meeting on Monday.

The ballot initiative wouldn't fund cameras on streets downtown, but rather would allow for their placement if money becomes available.

Cameras are already allowed in downtown parking garages.

Opponents of the measure, including members of City Council, said general downtown cameras would be ineffective and brought up the possibility of a "Big Brother" mentality.

Will you vote for or against having surveillance cameras in downtown Columbia?

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Victor Marbury December 9, 2009 | 7:19 p.m.

There is no right to privacy in public. (Note the very words themselves, "Public" and "Private", are opposites.)

Our City Councilman can continue to say otherwise all he wants, but that still doesn't make it so. It only shows how little he understands about the law.

I'll vote in favor of public safety, and the cameras.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 9, 2009 | 11:13 p.m.

I'm all for private property owners paying for "surveillance" cameras to make their business areas more "safe" to the members of the public which choose to frequent the District.
As for me, if I feel unsafe in an area, I'd avoid it, travel with a tougher crowd or bring my junk yard dog , Gunther, along for the trip.
It's absurd to vote for the city to spend general taxpayer monies on a specific business area of town, especially when Chief Burton assigned a special patrol force to this area as his first order of business.
Let's get real here. How much preferred treatment does that "District" expect and is this the best way to handle a perceived problem in a special interest group's self-designated open air environment?
I would however vote "yes" to divert some P&R payroll money to CPD's payroll budget line or even explore the possibility of directing PedNet/GetAbout money to make any area bearing a bicycle sharrow "safer" via increased police patrol.
(I think some of those sharrows actually run through a few residential areas and some might be on display near a few convenience stores and car washes.)
But, enough with impersonal technology which only makes the supplying vendor wealthy.
If there's an increase in criminal activity in a specific area of town, use human resources, not publicly funded "Polaroids."
(If need be, I can take my own pictures, thank you very much.)

(Report Comment)

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