Editorial: Cameras worth investment for added security

City Hall

If proposed five or 10 years ago, the city’s idea to add dozens of security cameras may have ruffled more civil-liberties feathers than it is now.
But with the increased and successful use of surveillance in preventing and solving crimes throughout the nation – along with consumers’ growing comfort with the realities of technology – the idea is coming with little, if any, apprehension.
Hollister City Council members recently weighed the idea from the police department to install about 40 cameras throughout downtown on street poles and buildings. Council members appeared to give full support to the idea, which has to come back for official consideration.
City officials, police personnel and business leaders got behind the proposal largely due to the Hollister Rally and other downtown events, to provide added security for those gatherings. Particularly sparking the idea, the Boy Scouts had 35 American flags stolen from the downtown area during the 2013 motorcycle rally. Having the cameras could be useful not only for the rally, street festival and other events, but also as a general deterrent to crime in the downtown area throughout the year.
Such surveillance can provide benefits on two ends, by potentially helping to catch criminals in the act and also by preventing crimes before they occur.
As expected, the technology would come at a fairly steep price – $300,000 – but would be worth the cost over the long haul if used wisely as a supplement to officers on the streets. City leaders would have to monitor the involved costs – including those to maintain the equipment – and ensure that the dollar amounts don’t get out of control.
Yet, with the tools available and consumers becoming more used to cameras and videos – with widespread use of camera surveillance and most people now holding them in their pockets by way of cell phones – it is better to be secure now than regret it later.

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