NAACP York opposes York Police surveillance camera program


The York Police Department’s recent efforts to increase access to CCTV cameras have been praised by some keen to tackle violent crime in the city, but the local NAACP chapter chief said more cameras could do more harm than good.

Richard Craighead, president of the NAACP branch in York, released a statement on July 23 on the use of surveillance footage and how it can affect the black and brown community.

The city has made a two-pronged effort to improve access to video surveillance.

As part of the “Aging at Home” program, the City will install cameras, free of charge, outside the residences of eligible seniors.

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Separately, the city offers a voluntary registry for surveillance cameras, which can help police quickly locate footage of criminals.

“If anyone has surveillance cameras that they just want us to know about, they may be able to help us solve crimes in the future,” said Lt. Daniel Lentz of the York Police Department.

“We don’t have access to these cameras. The only people who have access to them are the owners,” Lentz said, “If they have a crime that their cameras are capturing and they want to share that video with us, we will be happy to watch it, but we don’t have access to it.

The police department does not intend to share images with the public or the press.

The form only follows:

  • Who registers
  • Camera location
  • Camera details such as quantity of cameras, make and model, and coverage area.
  • A summary of the capabilities or configuration of the camera.

However, the NAACP has raised various concerns, including police transparency, the benefits of using surveillance cameras, and how this fits into the history of racial bias in the criminal justice system.

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“In this newly guarded environment, would our brothers and sisters retain their rights to a fair and free trial? And their innocence until proven guilty? Craighead wrote.

“We need to consider transparency within the police. Who will monitor them? Would the footage protect them but incriminate us? And would the police have unfair influence over the use of the surveillance footage?”

The organization does not believe surveillance cameras are the answer.

Resident Erick Jones, 51, disagrees with the program if it can cause discrimination.

“If the surveillance can lead to racial profiling by the police, then I disagree,” Jones said. “Pictures may be blurry.”

Pennsylvania ACLU spokesperson Andy Hoover said that by participating in the program, residents would help the police department create a citywide mass surveillance program.

“The people of York should be able to go about their lives without wondering if where they are going and what they are doing will be seen by law enforcement,” Hoover said. bear the brunt of law enforcement power.

However, Cynthia Santos, 56, agrees to help the police by recording cameras.

“I would feel more secure,” Santos said. “If anything happens, let the police see the video. It’s crazy here in York.”

Katia Parks covers public safety issues for the York Daily Record. Contact her at [email protected]

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