Public safety more important than loss of privacy

Re: "City revisits idea of downtown surveillance cameras" raises the question of whether downtown surveillance cameras are a public safety device or an infringement of privacy. With so much wavering of opinions amid council members, how about we hasten to some critical thinking?

Arjun Singh's comment, "You attack the issue, not the person" is a noble and well-intentioned one, but are not the people who commit the crimes the issue? Is not the safety of the public at issue here?

It's obvious that cameras will never prevent crimes, but when a crime happens, they become very useful prosecution tools. One of the worst things to ever happen to a victim other than the crime itself, is when the perpetrator manages to get away with the crime, or the penalty that the perpetrator gets doesn't befit the crime. Surveillance cameras that record crimes take away a lot of doubt in the prosecution of criminals.

I've taken interest in the Kamloops Transit system and the safety of bus drivers and their passengers (a national problem clearly on the increase). Having lived in Vancouver for 20 years, and when I was cognizant of my safety, I would purposefully stand within the designated camera areas on a Sky Train platform. Yes, there are all these differences between Vancouver and Kamloops in size and scope but a citizen's safety "issue" is still the same and Kamloops has its share of increasing problems.

People who are afraid of being caught on a security camera are potentially dishonest or paranoid. If a person doesn't have anything to hide, what's to be threatened by a surveillance camera? Besides, are you going to stop using your bank machine? You may as well smile, 'cause you're on candid camera.

Let's say you are assaulted, mugged, or something even worse, but what if there are no witnesses around? It would be almost impossible to catch the assailant. Even with witnesses, each person has different abilities or reliability when remembering details of an event, especially a dramatic one.

If it's caught on video (as many phone cameras have proven helpful), the authorities would have a precise description of the perpetrator. Isn't that worth a little 'loss of privacy'?

In terms of this city's bus exchanges, B.C. Transit should already know what helps and it shouldn't take council too long to make up their minds. If Kamloops hopes to retain the notion of one of the "best" cities to live in, won't it quickly lose this if crime is to increase similar to the bigger cities?

Wouldn't Lacasse and the RCMP stand to gain in their investigations with aid of clear evidence provided? Wouldn't some cameras in the appropriate and strategic places be helpful to those who suffer the most - the actual victim of the crime? I think so.

H. NICKASON

Kamloops

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