It is too soon to tell; I am really on the fence for this one. I just do not see the cameras fulfilling their intended purpose to “deter” crime. If they are posted in a clear, obvious location they will most certainly be vandalized and destroyed in a matter of days. Maybe the police should just put up signs indicating there are cameras to scare everyone without actually investing in the cameras. The cameras could, however, be used effectively for law enforcement. If the cameras could allow justice to be served on aggressive crimes like violence, harassment, vandalism or theft, I might be able to get on board. I am concerned, though, that the Pullman PD may go all Big Brother on us and start busting people on Sundays for last night’s “Drunk in Public.” Aside from this all, I would be in full support of purely for-entertainment live streaming cameras just in case I need to locate my friends or I am forced to stay home on a Saturday night for some strange reason.
As long as the cameras are kept in an isolated section of Pullman, reportedly Adams Mall, then I have no problem with them. The cameras should prove useful in identifying those responsbile for the frequent bar fights that erupt in that area. I doubt they will deter much crime, because if you are hanging out at Stubblefield's after midnight you have already hit rock bottom, but they should be useful in determining who is at fault when crime occurs. With any luck, we will finally have proof that it is not WSU students who cause all the crime in Pullman, but rather visitors from other colleges or returning alumni who stir up all the trouble. This is why I firmly believe Pullman needs a wall to keep out the non-WSU students and WSU alumni who immigrate to our town and take away criminal activity from Pullman citizens who could be committing the same crimes.
I feel the same way about putting security cameras on College Hill as I do about photo enforcers on roads. It is an unnecessary expenditure. Law enforcement, or whomever has proposed these cameras, should do their job and monitor better. We do not need Big Brother looking over our shoulder. We have been fine without them this far; I do not see why we need them now.
Installing security cameras feels more like a PR campaign than a legitimate solution. The hope is that the cameras will deter late night drunken brawls. Thing is, these fights will be at night and unless they buy nice cameras, CCTV will see grainy dark figure one move toward grainy dark figure two, they become one larger grainy dark figure, then one grainy dark figure runs off. Secondly, if you are in a drunken fight you really are not going to be cognizant of the cameras around you. All your energy is focused on inserting fist A into face B.