CCTV: POWERFUL WEAPON IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM
The terrorist bombing in London is the latest assault on civilization by those whose mindset is still
centered in the 12th century. These modern day “assassins” have made a great strategic error in choosing the British as their target. They will be taught a hard lesson. The four bombings of the London Underground and surface bus line will test one of the most powerful tools against terror activity. The use of CCTV
to monitor public places has been a controversial issue here in the United States. However, Britain has not been reluctant to adopt this technology. The British have been in the
forefront in the use of CCTV. The fact that the British have much experience in prior terrorist incidents has led them to fully utilize this valuable technology. They have placed CCTV cameras throughout London and Great Britain
in general. There are more than four million cameras in place. There is an obvious advantage to this in the War on Terrorism. In all probability, some of those cameras have
recorded the actions of terrorists who planted the bombs on the Circle and Piccadilly Underground Lines as well as the Number 30 Double Decker Bus
which exploded in Havistock Square.
To read about the sequence of bombings, go to the BBC site at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/05/london_blasts/html/russell_sq.stm
The use of CCTV in law enforcement and counterterrorism is in its early stages of development. However, the emergence of the use of biometrics has enabled the use of CCTV to identify suspects in large crowds. Facial recognition by the use of biometrics will enable law enforcement to identify
suspects whose biometics have been entered into a database for use in crime fighting or
counterterrorism. That is why intelligence gathering sources are of such vital importance in the fight against terrorism. Hopefully, the British CCTV system in London will have video taped the actions of
It is interesting to note that the New York City Police Department under the leadership of Police
Commissioner Raymond Kelly has advocated the placement of over 400 new surveillance cameras in busy commercial districts. These cameras would record high-quality digital videos that would help
identify suspects engaged in criminal activity. Kelly has rerquested funding for the placement of the
cameras. The events in London make such funding a top priority.
The Housing Bureau of the NYPD has already placed hundreds of such cameras in City Housing
developments in all five boroughs. Those cameras have been found to be in the words of Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne
“a proven deterrent” to crime.
However, as usual, Commissioner Kelly will have to convince civil libertarians of the necessity for the
implementation of the CCTV initiative. The loss of privacy is a fear that some such as the New York Civil Liberties Union
have voiced in reaction to the proposal. Also, the possible use of videos for unlawful use is another fear. However, these issues pale in contrast to the value of CCTV in the fight
against terrorism. The question of whether citizens have an “expectation of privacy” in public places is
open to debate. Few can argue for such an expectation. The unlawful use of videos can be effectively policed by competent management and the courts. It is obvious that the use of CCTV in public places
is a valuable weapon in the war on terror and should be fully adopted by government.
Copyright 2005 Edward D. Reuss
QUICK WORK BY THE BRITISH POLICE USING THE CCTV CAMERAS:
Wednesday, July 13, 2005: British Police scour more than 2,500 videotapes and spot four suspects at King’s Cross.
The video shows four suspects together at King’s Cross railway station
“only 20 minutes before the explosions”. To read the articles in the NY Daily News, and the NY Times: click on the link below:
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