The recent issue of security cameras has sure been a “hot topic” in Columbia. I usually take the philosophy of “water seeks its own level,” and generally the voters in elections make good, informed choices. The issue at hand is either correctly passed or correctly defeated, or the best candidate is elected, and the least desirable candidate(s) are defeated. In debates over security cameras I have heard so much incorrect or flawed information that I thought it best (and for the first time I can recall) to write a letter to the editor.
For a little over 30 years now, I have been in law enforcement in Columbia and have had countless experiences with criminal investigations and extensive training in the field of crime prevention. This has been my profession for over three decades. Without hesitation and unequivocally, I support security cameras. It is almost hard to believe or even comprehend that there are those in our community who vote for elected officials that have taken a position of being against this issue.
In my current position, we make arrests on at least a weekly basis off evidence we gather from security cameras. Let me repeat that. We make arrests very frequently, which without the evidence from security cameras would most likely have never occurred. We have also had a number of instances where security cameras have proven that reported crimes did not happen. In addition, I have heard suspects say they target or pick areas to commit crimes where they know there are not security cameras present.
It is also notable that over the years security cameras have been instrumental in proving suicides were not homicides. So, it has been somewhat frustrating to hear those who do not have firsthand experience in the field of policing/law enforcement make statements saying security cameras are not effective. They are extremely effective, to say the least! When placed in public areas, they are not unconstitutional. They are an invaluable tool for law enforcement to help solve and prevent crime.
Community policing is almost common terminology in our times now, and security cameras are an excellent example of it. Community policing means the community is the police, and one of the things the community can do now is support Proposition 1, which will be one more spoke in the wheel to help prevent and solve crime.