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

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora