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Is Shutting Down Camera System Right?
wbrail Politics
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I'm a little ticked off about those crime cameras being written off for dead by the city leaders. The reasoning put forth that there's no money to run them, is pretty solid but not very well vetted.

Gotta say, I'm dubious. I am familiar with Charlotte Raup's opinion of them from her comments in a Facebook group, and Charlotte swirls close to the mayor's boat, having been a lead champion for his election. In short, she didn't like them because she didn't believe "they worked", despite there being virtually no data to support that assertion one way or another. To their fault, if they were working, Wilkes-Barre officials were not touting many successes in public. And in the meantime, there was plenty of bad press about them failing to assist in crime cases occurring in their proximity.

However, my overriding sense was that they were opposed to not for any reason having to do with their effectiveness, but rather that they were a step forward by the previous city leadership who Charlotte and Tony George were poised to directly campaign against. Basically, whether they worked or not, they were targets of demonizing for strictly political reasons.

The system can serve a purpose, George said, but he won’t follow the same route of funding and operation of his predecessor, Tom Leighton, who oversaw the formation of the non-profit Hawkeye in 2008. Hawkeye dissolved last December and the city took over the system that went online in 2010 as a crime fighting tool.

Now that Tony George has officiated over their deflation for the foreseeable future, it's anybody's guess whether or not the best decision for the city's crime-fighting effort has really been made or if Tony is just looking to shore up his material lack of belief in the previous mayor's initiatives, or cover up his lack of grasp in how to best use them. Tony used to be a cop in a day when you drove around (maybe even in the day when you walked around) to police. At his age and with that experience, and with that chip on his shoulder against Leighton, I might close and lock the video room door too if I opened it up to a dizzying array of video technology staring back at me.

The camera system, even if temporarily underfunded, is a great asset to remote patrolling and evidence collection, in my opinion. Tony has been quoted in the press as saying he believes in the concept but repeated the still unsubstantiated claim they "don't work" - without explaining how or what that means - the same mantra of Charlotte Raup however many months later outside a Facebook group. You don't get the feeling they were actually subjected to much analysis. In my opinion if they genuinely do not work, that's a fantastic technical failure you would think the press would be all over and that he'd be willing to explain in greater detail.


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