News / USA

Boston Bombing Sparks Surveillance Camera Debate

Boston Bombing Sparks Surveillance Camera Debatei
X
April 25, 2013 12:02 AM
In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, a debate has erupted over whether more surveillance cameras should be introduced. It's an issue that's been debated in Britain for many years - a country with one of the highest densities of CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras in the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the battle between privacy and public protection.

Boston Bombing Sparks Surveillance Camera Debate

Henry Ridgwell
The suspects in the bombings at the Boston Marathon were first identified from surveillance camera images. Debate about the use of the cameras has been ongoing for many years in Britain - a country with one of the highest densities of CCTV cameras in the world. 

The FBI released color surveillance camera footage of the Boston bombing suspects three days after the attacks took place.  The video shows two men walking with rucksacks moments before the explosions.  They were quickly identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar.

Pictures of two suspects in Boston bombing (FBI photo)Pictures of two suspects in Boston bombing (FBI photo)
x
Pictures of two suspects in Boston bombing (FBI photo)
Pictures of two suspects in Boston bombing (FBI photo)
​Former FBI Special Agent Peter J. Ahearn says surveillance cameras are one of the primary tools of investigation.

"The first thing you do in any kind of a crisis in an area is you go for the tapes, you go for the video.  The ATM machines, anything on the street and there will be a team of investigators and analysts working that," he said.

At the last count in 2007, there were 147 surveillance cameras operated by Boston city authorities and more than 400 on buses and subways.

Some are calling for more cameras.  Among them is former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani - who cited London as an example, describing it as a virtual "Hollywood studio" of surveillance.

Surveillance or "CCTV" cameras from railway stations were crucial in identifying, within hours, the terrorists who attacked the London transport network in July 2005.

Conservative lawmaker Philip Davies is a strong advocate.

"CCTV is an absolutely crucial tool for the security services and the police," he said, "not just in identifying who was responsible for a crime after the event, but sometimes for actually identifying where people are to try to prevent those people who you have identified at source, knowing where they are so you can cut them off if they are trying something out.”

Estimates vary from around 1.8 million to four million surveillance cameras across Britain. 

"The debate should be about how do we prevent crime," said Nick Pickles, from the organization Big Brother Watch, which campaigns for more privacy. "And if there is one thing that London as a city has proved, it is that CCTV does very little to deter criminals, it does very little to reduce crime levels, and when you have a major security incident like we tragically saw in Boston, CCTV is of very little use preventing these attacks happening.”

Londoners questioned by VOA were broadly supportive of CCTV.

"A lot of crime nowadays is solved because of CCTV, so I am all for it," said one man.

"CCTV is a good thing.  But sometimes it depends on the situation.  Sometimes the police go too far," said another man.

Boston investigators noted the critical role of the public in identifying the suspects.  

"For more than 100 years the FBI has relied upon the public to be its eyes and ears," explains Special Agent Richard DesLauriers from the FBI’s Boston division. "With the media's help, in an instant these images will be delivered directly into the hands of millions around the world.”

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
April 25, 2013 10:54 AM
We need LESS Government, LESS TSA putting their hands down your pants, LESS cameras watching the so-called "terrorists". Lets watch the FBI, who STAGED THE BOSTON ATTACK!! Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security. ... Benjamin Franklin.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid