Town of Windsor sparks debate by installing security cameras in public areas
The town of Windsor maybe isn't the type of place you would expect to have security cameras but indeed it does, and they're adding even more as you mentioned. And they're not just for security; they serve many other purposes as well.
Look hard enough, and you'll find them in this picturesque Maritime town and the news that more security cameras are on the way has Windsor residents torn.
“I don't see it doing any harm, just keeping everybody safe and looking out for everything,” said Thomas Moore.
Said Caet Moir: “I'm a small business owner, and I totally understand the value of having a camera at the right spot at the right time.”
But others have concerns.
“I don't like the idea of being on camera all the time, especially since I feel pretty safe in Windsor,” said Elise Weaver
Matt Povah is an IT specialist with the town of Windsor.
“None of that video is live monitored, ever,” Povah said.
Over the next several years - up to 75 cameras will eventually be installed in town.
One of the reasons - security - especially in public areas like the Windsor waterfront, where vandalism was a bigger problem before cameras were put in place.
The Nova Scotia RCMP says being able to access the recorded videos has helped officers prove, or disprove, crimes reported to them.
And the town says there are other benefits.
“The goal is to put cameras at certain locations that are key areas that you want to be able to monitor, and also to put cameras on all the entry and exit points so that you can monitor any traffic,” Povah said. “That way, the town can track busy intersections, measure traffic flow, and see how many people are coming in and out.”
The footage is recorded and stored in a computer server for 58 days.
Of course, larger cities use many more cameras in comparison.
Halifax, for example, has about 1,000 cameras recording footage focused around municipal buildings.
Privacy lawyer David Fraser says no matter the scale, it's all about making sure policies balance between security, and personal privacy.
“How do we want to manage this information?” Fraser asks. “Is the community actually satisfied, do they actually think that the increase in security is worthwhile for a decrease in privacy?
When it comes to the cameras in Windsor, the deputy mayor says “the concept of a security camera system has always been protection of our facilities and other assets, improved policing capability and increased public confidence,” Windsor Mayor Laurie Murley said in an e-mail. “All of these benefits lead to people feeling more secure.”
That need to feel safe and secure is even present in a small east coast community.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.