U.S. citizens are accustomed to living in a free society with laws that protect them from undue and overarching government meddling. The U.S. Constitution guarantees those freedoms and the judicial system is there to protect them. Yet, citizens are feeling less protected due to the increasing threat of terrorism from abroad and within the U.S. borders. Mass killings are becoming more common and street violence in cities across this country, including Washington, D.C., are ending the lives of both the old and the young.
The pressure placed on law enforcement and elected officials is undaunting, leaving many of them searching for more effective ways to end the carnage. Despite the love-hate relationship communities of color have with law enforcement, better policing is demanded when a life is lost. And the fact that when a violent crime is committed, there seems to be no one there but the perpetrator and the victim, because few are willing to tell law enforcement what they witnessed despite rewards of thousands of dollars for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is doing what others in the U.S. are now employing by encouraging residents to consider installing surveillance cameras at their homes and businesses. The Private Security Camera Incentive Program, she hopes, will help to prevent and solve neighborhood crimes like the ones that took the lives of 11-year-old Karon Brown and 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson one year earlier.
Bowser said at a press conference last week, “We’ve seen it time and time again — when we have clear video footage of a crime, we can act faster to get dangerous people off our streets.”
Some might argue that surveillance cameras are a bad idea and that they don’t deter crime. The ACLU, for example, suggests that while it does not object to cameras, specifically in high profile public places, “the impulse to blanket our public spaces and streets with video surveillance is a bad idea.”
We agree with Mayor Bowser when she says, “It’s your choice.” Still, it’s unfortunate that self-restraint and respect for others are not enough to keep communities safe.