Oh, the places cams go! 24 hours in surveillance camera news, condensed

Dec 28, 2013
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You might think the U.S. is nearing a saturation point with cameras, but you'd be wrong. We've got a long ways to go before we can safely consider ourselves to be stuffed to the gills with cameras like Sentinels breaching Zion.

But we're making swift progress! Every day, another city installs traffic cameras designed to recognize license plates and human faces, detect violations, identify activities, and issue fines automatically. Every day, another courtroom lets the news media in with cameras and another police department dons body-mounted video cameras.

Such cameras don't always work very well at all. Statistics as to their ability to actually decrease accidents and crime are few and far between.

But boy can they pull in the dough if wielded correctly!

Here is your camera news roundup for just the past 24 hours alone.

One microscopic town outside of Cincinnati, OH was facing financial difficulties and was on the verge of disbanding its local government, so the town of less than 3,000 people installed traffic cameras that could issue speeding tickets automatically. In just a single month, the cameras issued 6,600 citations for a tidy $2 million prize. Cha-chinnng! But then a judge said that was ridiculous so the cash cow got crushed and now the town doesn't know how it's going to survive.

Meanwhile, Baltimore has fired its second consecutive traffic camera contractor -- with a $600,000 severance package -- after paying him $2.2 million for 72 cameras. The cameras were supposed to be able to detect automobiles' speed using radar and issue tickets accordingly. Except the radar didn't work on many of the cameras and hundreds of citation numbers were wrong. The first contractor Baltimore used generated $50 million in revenues.

Washington, D.C. will be ready to rake in the mad traffic cam dough starting Dec. 30, 2013. May they hit jackpot. Delmarva, Maryland is all set to install more "crook-catching" cameras with facial recognition, except no one will be watching the monitors, if rumors are facts.

Surprisingly, not everyone likes the cameras. The Miami County Commissioner thinks the high-tech traffic cameras are a lazy way for a city to raise money while impoverishing your own citizenry. And a judge in Tampa Bay, Florida seems to think red-light cameras are unconstitutional. I for one think right turns on red are a sign of poor character and uncouth upbringing.

And finally, for good measure, we have news cameras finally being let in to the courtrooms of Kane County, Illinois, as well as chest-mounted cameras for police officers in Park City, Utah.

None of this is new as a trend. What's surprising here is the rate at which proliferation is occurring. All of these stories were published within the last 24 hours. Now multiply that by Whoa and carry the Seriously?, and now you have an idea as to how fast this freight train is moving.

Where's it headed? Comments are down there.


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