NEWBURYPORT — If you're thinking about breaking the law in the downtown, you may want to think again. With the help of new, state-of-the-art cameras, police will soon have a new way to keep watch on the downtown and the waterfront.
Through a state Community Policing grant, Newburyport police have installed three cameras in strategic locations around the downtown and waterfront.
With the ability to see Inn Street, State Street and the waterfront areas of the city, the cameras are aimed at high traffic places in the downtown area.
"This is a positive thing and another tool for our toolbox to use in solving crimes and keeping people safe," Marshal Thomas Howard said. "This is pro-active and comes with strict policies regarding who can use them and the data collected."
The benefit of the cameras will be for deterrence of crime in the downtown area as well as aiding in investigations when crimes do occur. Howard used a number of examples of crimes the cameras could catch or protect, including vandalism, the stabbing of a teen on the waterfront, a million-dollar yacht that was cut loose from the town docks and shoplifting activity.
I find it a bit unsettling to see more and more cameras being installed by government agencies for the purpose, they say, of protecting the public. Some people say they do not mind giving up of their rights and liberties because they do nothing wrong or have nothing to fear from the 'authorities'.
Case in point, a small neighboring town that will be installing cameras to watch the downtown area. If this is the plan, will the police start to pull back on the numbers of officers in cars and even on the police force? Brings to mind the law that requires smoke detectors and alarm systems in homes and buildings. Does this cut back the number of fire personnel on the job?
When all is done and said it is our money that pays the bill for grants, cameras, police and fire protection and the afterlife of such. Are we safe just knowing that none of these pictures or information caught on tape will ever be seen by anyone other then the 'authorities'.