The behavior of (some) late night occupants of downtown Lowell has been a trending topic in Lowell’s blogosphere with kad barma writing about it here and here; Left in Lowell here and here; and our own post here. The police have increased their presence which is a good thing; a high density of officers in uniform creates a deterrent and making arrests where appropriate at least might keep those defendants under control for a while. But the police can’t be everywhere all the time.
Is it time for the city to bring video surveillance cameras to downtown? I’m not sure I like the idea because it would be a bit of an invasion of privacy of the vast majority of law-abiding citizens, but life is all about trade-offs. If cameras could help apprehend those who destroy property and soil our sidewalks and doorways and provide the police with a valuable tool in enforcing the law, then might that level of intrusion be worth it? I’m guessing that the acquisition costs for such a system would be tolerable, certainly within the budget of a typical regional public relations campaign that gets washed away by a single widely-covered crime.
Perhaps the time has arrived to have a public discussion on video surveillance cameras for downtown Lowell.