KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If there’s one indisputable fact from the Boston bombing investigation, it’s the power of surveillance video.
Retired FBI Agent Michael Tabman of Kansas City says the images of the Boston bombing suspects from a department store security camera gave investigators their biggest lead.
“Look how well it worked. I mean it was key to breaking this case.”
Tabman says the public should expect the use of security cameras to grow in public places.
“We’re not filming you. We’re filming a public area for the general safety and security of our population. That is the overriding concern, so just be aware when you’re out in public you are being filmed. Times have changed we need to change with them.”
But even some video security experts are having trouble getting used to that idea. Bob Bennett is a former police officer who now owns TBC Video in Lee’s Summit. His company enhances and analyzes surveillance video for civil and criminal trials.
When it comes to security cameras in public places Bennett says “To me it’s still a privacy issue and I just hate that they’re all over everywhere.” But he admits they’re highly effective, not just in solving crime but in preventing crimes, “It’s obvioulsy a safety factor and it enhances the safety of people. If think they’re on camera all the time, they’re not liable to do the dirty deed.”
Kansas City’s Power and Light District has more than 50 security cameras. Kansas City’s Emergency Operations Director Gene Shepherd says the city has more than a hundred cameras, most of them monitored at the city’s Operations Command Center during events like the Big 12 Basketball Tournament.
The Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri tells FOX 4 he’s concerned about the pervasive use of security cameras. Garay Brunk says he doesn’t want the United States to copy the United Kingdom, where he says there’s a camera for every 14 people.
“Virtually you can’t move around in a public space without being tracked in some way. That to us is an infringement on privacy.”
But retired FBI Agent Michael Tabman counters, “When your’e out in public you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”