Syracuse Residents Take Initiative on Police Surveillance Funding
Tired of waiting for Syracuse, NY, police to install cameras in neighborhoods, residents are taking surveillance into their own hands, The Post-Standard reports.
Dennis Schwald Sr. put up four high-definition surveillance cameras three weeks ago, with plans for four more. The cameras capture the entire 300 block of Hartson Avenue in Skunk City, a Syracuse neighborhood. The $369 system, with infrared night vision, can be monitored from Schwald’s television in his living room, and a DVR records a month’s worth of footage. He can also access the video via smartphone, the article says.
A group from Skunk City is planning on adding police cameras without spending any government money by using a pot of money Onondaga County gave the neighborhood in exchange for a sewage plant that was never built, The Post-Standard reports. The neighborhood has $50,000 from the fund to chip in.
City residents from multiple neighborhoods are pushing for cameras, but elected officials have not approved money from the city’s general fund. All cameras so far were paid for by state and federal grants.
However, a civil liberties advocate argues that the Skunk City group’s approach to funding police cameras is problematic because it bypasses the city’s Common Council, which could lead to installing police surveillance cameras around the city with no clear oversight, according to Barrie Gewanter, director of the Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Syracuse police have sent technology experts to the Skunk City neighborhood to determine where cameras should go.