AOl Poll and article: Civilians Run City-Wide Surveillance in Pennsylvania Town

Civilians Run City-Wide Surveillance in Pennsylvania Town

Lancaster, Pennsylvania is known as the home of Hershey's, the town where Peeps was invented, and the American city with the highest amount of surveillance per capita. Lancasterians have been subjected to a community-wide program that installs closed-circuit cameras on nearly every street, hosting more outdoor cameras than both San Francisco and Boston, reports LATimes.com. The Dutch Pennsylvanian city considers itself to be a prime candidate for such security measures, considering the amount of tourism its attractions receive.

The argument is that, while this is a small city, Lancaster was plagued with four murders last year, and the surveillance system helped solve one of them. Post-9/11, a local crime commission suggested that cameras might help make the city safer. In response, local businesspeople, municipal officials, and otherwise concerned citizens formed a non-governmental group called the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition. With money raised from private donors and foundations, the recorders were installed and local citizens hired to keep watch. Although the coalition's executive director, Joseph Morales, is also a city councilman, no governmental organizations were directly involved in these decisions. By the same token, the coalition only employees civilians and does not answer to the city government.

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