Big Brother Is Here, And I'm So Glad To Know Him
The Baltimore City Police put two of their new state-of-the art surveillance cameras on my block last week.
I'd seen them elsewhere, of course, and I didn't think much of them, really.
Like anything, you don't think much about it until it pertains to you.
Do I think they're a deterrent to crime? Most definitely. Because most people aren't going to do anything they shouldn't if they know someone's wayching them.
Does this mean all the muggers and rapists are going to stop? No, it just means they'll be forced to do their mugging and raping elsewhere where there aren't any cameras. In a sense, they're not stopping the crime, they're just moving it to another location.
Good news for me, bad news for somebody else.
In one sense, it's a little disturbing to know you're being watched and recorded when you're merely walking down the street to the drugstore. The eyes of Baltimore are on you (all the livelong day).
But when you think about it, most places of business (in Baltimore City anyway) have security cameras, buses and other public transportation (including some taxicabs) have security cameras, too.
Walk within fifty feet of any bank and --"Smile, you're on Candid Camera!"
We're already being monitored almost all the time.
What, really, has changed?
Have the new cameras affected me in any way?
Well, the gang of hoodlums that hang out in front of the liquor store have gone away.
Ditto for the dude that hawks pot to anyone walking past ("Hey, man, wanna buy some reefer?").
Ditto for the people that smoke crack in the alley by the convenience store.
Ditto for the gang that hangs in front of the 24-hour fried chicken carry-out.
I never feel 100% safe walking around the city streets after dark --a policeman on every corner wouldn't even do that-- but the cameras make me feel alot safer than I used to.
I might still get mugged, but gosh darn it somebody will see it and (maybe) catch the guy who did it.
That's somewhat comforting to know.
And after all, if you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about, right?