BLOG: Downtown cameras debated at Stephens College

Monday, February 22, 2010 | 8:49 a.m. CST; updated 10:08 a.m. CST, Monday, February 22, 2010

COLUMBIA — A debate about downtown cameras took place Friday between Keep Columbia Safe founder Karen Taylor and Dan Viets, director of the mid-Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union at Stephens College.

Taylor, whose 25-year-old son was beaten up in a parking garage June 6, 2009, supports Proposition 1, which, if voted on, would result in the installment of multiple cameras downtown.

The mid-Missouri chapter of ACLU unanimously passed a resolution Feb. 13 in opposition to the downtown cameras. Viets spoke against Proposition 1.

To read more about the debate this past Friday,  go to the Missourian's Watchword blog.

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Ray Shapiro February 22, 2010 | 9:51 a.m.

The wording of Proposition 1 instills a bad precedent as it does not allow Chief Burton to use city furnished, general taxpayer paid equipment to be moved and used in any real hot spots which might spring up outside of "The District."
Seems to me that the business and property owners of any area should realize that it is more appropriate that any camera equipment purchased as a perceived enhancement for any special interest group should be included in their cost of doing full.
Put up all the cameras you private property owners' expense.
I will vote "No" on Proposition 1.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox February 22, 2010 | 11:27 a.m.

And I'll vote yes.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 22, 2010 | 1:35 p.m.

@Eric Cox:

You, unlike I, are a man of few words.

Vote as both your heart AND mind tells you too.

No surprise that the website Vengal and others are spending so much money on to promote this special interest group's technology desires, and front Karen Taylor for their agenda, that there would be quite a few sympathizers in support of this fear mongering.

Either way, my guess is "The District" stands to lose.

CPS attempting to blanket a business locale with city provided cameras, from the general public fund, will create an ambiance downtown unlike we've ever seen before. More "good" people will go elsewhere. "Tourists" will wonder why a small town such as ours even needs to play this cat and mouse game.

Private cameras on the other hand, paid by the shop owners, would be much more accepted as a concern over inventory control and not as an unfounded worry that without them more Knock Out King incidents are bound to appear. Any assaults will and have always been taken care of in "The District" by CPS, in person. Private cell phones, witnesses, informants and personal property cameras all ready exist.

Besides, a teen Curfew would be a much more reasonable approach to enhance downtown's unsupervised youth and improve the ambiance for that specific area. Any one care to explain why we've dropped the ball on that? Chief Burton expressed both an interest in this, as well as a preference to securing more police officers and detectives for the entire city and not just exclusively for this private business zone known as "The District."

If "The District's" customers were that concerned about getting jumped by hooligans, I would think that people would be wearing gym whistles around their neck and have their pitbull at their side, on a short leash of course, by now.

Also, don't forget, the paranoid and lonely can always find solace walking in numbers.

(Report Comment)

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