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Cameras in Parks Are a Step Too Far

Civil liberty is the key component of this issue.

We all want safety and security for ourselves and our families.

Those of us who whose hair has either left the room or turned to gray or white certainly remember the days when parents didn't seem to worry as much about how safe their children were when they left the house for the day.

As a young skinny nine-year-old, summer days meant that I would leave the house shortly after breakfast on my stingray bicycle with the banana seat. The itinerary would be fluid as the day's events would take me to places both planned and unplanned. Lunch would often be at a friend's house and on occasion we would lunch at my mothers table. We usually didn't know whose mom would feed us until we all piled into the kitchen.

Most times, our afternoons would include unscheduled and unsupervised games that frequently evolved into the kind of roughhousing young boys are known for. Knees would be scraped, heads banged and, once in a while, an eye blackened or a nose bloodied.

We were kids, and we acted like kids. The world wasn't less dangerous, we were just less aware of the dangers.

Supper (dinner was for the haves, not the have nots) would almost always be at home. When the table was cleared and the plates washed, we would head out again knowing full well which street light closest to home was the last to go on. That light would dictate when a return home was due.

There were bad people out there, including a few priests and others of the supposed "responsible types." Concerned parents would ensure their children were aware of those characters.

One thing I still see and hear my father say is, "see that guy riding around with all of those kids in his truck? If I ever see you anywhere near him I'll kick your behind." That's all I needed to hear. There was also a little league coach he didn't trust, so I never played.

Somehow we all survived without cell phones, GPS, baby fingerprints, photos on file with the PD or micro-chips in out little backsides. 

We also survived without .

These days many kids are never out of contact with their parents. That is not a bad thing, it's just the way it is. The world can be perilous. It was so in 1969, and it is still so in 2012.

We have come to a point as a society where it is becoming accepted that we will appear on camera just about everywhere we go — markets, banks, schools, parking lots and traffic intersections to list a few. In an attempt to provide security and, perhaps save budget money, both private businesses and governments are looking at expanding camera usage.

Another aspect of this is the profit motive of the companies who design, manufacture, market and maintain these cameras. Many of the statistics used to support installation of these devices are created and published by these very same companies.

Yes, the world is dangerous, it always has been and always will be. Good parents find a way to keep their children safe and also understand that there will be times when they will be unable to provide that safety net.

With all due respect to those who prefer the security over the civil liberty aspects, I say it is time here in Salem to draw a line in the sand.

We already have cameras at the , whose fence still takes a regular beating. Let's keep them out of the rest of our public parks.

Matt Buchanan July 17, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Bill is correct about this issue, the idea of a kid being abducted gives me the chills and I think may be one of the worst things that can ever happen to a family, but our society is obsessed with band-aids. I do not believe that cameras will solve the problem. Try to get into the psychology of a person who would do something so terrible. If there are cameras, yes they may deter a crime from happening in view of the cameras, but I imagine someone this sick may find another place to pull off the same crime. Think of it in a more way everyone can relate to, yes speed detectors put out by police, or a speed trap on the side of the road are effective in slowing down traffic in that moment, but most of you reading these words will admit to yourselves that you immediately speed back up and commit the same crime as soon as the police or speed monitor are out of view. I know this example is a bit of stretch, but and the abductor is clearly a much more sever crime, but I hope my point is made. Surveillance is effective in targeted areas, but does little to solve the actual problem.....so my question is this.....by adding cameras and preventing horrific crimes in selected areas, does this positive outweigh the freedom lost and the permanent change in our cultural norms? It's easy to add a camera, near impossible to take one away, I think cameras are a big mistake for our society. I honestly think we're just shifting the problem from one place to another.
John Dumas July 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
" if you're not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?" Tell me if this link to "Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin" uses the exact same words?
Matt Hurst July 30, 2012 at 04:30 PM
People complain they want to be protected from the homeless, theft, and drug users/pushers and yet scoff at the idea of cameras in our parks and blame the Salem Police department when incident occurs. Reality check readers, our parks are home to all of the above mentioned and when you are assaulted, accosted or witness a drug deal going on 25 feet from where junior is playing or worse abducted, you will scream "Foul." If you want a sense of community and safety, you must participate in it. How many of our readers are actually registered as safe homes for our children to run to in an emergency or involved in a task-force/crime watch program. I concur with the above reader John Dumas "If you're not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?" Bravo to the Salem Police Department - for being proactive to the responses of our residents (whether they realize it or not).
john July 30, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I also agree,if Salem is going to continue in the same direction with regard to the unwanted poulation,then bring on the cameras and put them under supervision. I also have nothing to hide.
John Dumas July 31, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Did anyone get the EVIL dictator part?

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