The city of Williamsport is reconsidering installing surveillance cameras at “hot spots,” or areas deemed high-crime risk.  Currently, the city has surveillance cameras located in city parks.  The cameras were installed six years ago, paid for by a government grant.

Now, the city is considering relocating these cameras from the city parks to the “hot spots.”

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana has made it clear he advocates for this move, having long been a proponent of camera surveillance systems.  The city is currently awaiting the results of a report to determine whether the move will be effective or not.

Surveillance cameras are back in the city administration’s focus.

The view of the Mayor is not shared by all council members.  Some of the concerns included privacy issues, and others include lack of confidence that the cameras will actually impact crime effectively.

Campana wants a go-ahead from the council that, if the report shows the cameras could be effective, the council will vote for the move.  Otherwise, Campana stated he doesn’t think it is worth the time and effort to do the report at all.

The council President, Jonathan Williamson, has stated the council would simply review the matter in the same way it would any other administrative proposal.

Campana said he wants direction from council but does not want a waste of time and resources if the idea is going to be voted down. Council President Jonathan Williamson previously said council would review it as it does with any administration proposal.  The City Police Chief, David J. Young, made the case for the cameras on the grounds that juries are more likely to convict if they have surveillance videos to view.

Currently, there are approximately 13 surveillance cameras located in 4 parks.  The cameras have led to five arrested.  The police chief believes they’ll get better results if the cameras are moved to the “hot spots.”

An ancillary benefit of the cameras was given that they could help the city study traffic patterns that would aid design engineers to produce less accident-prone intersections.

While no assurance was given by the council that the report would be the deciding factor, some assurance was given that the report would contribute significantly toward the final decision council could make.

The report appears to be going forward at this time.  What do you think?  Let us know at editor@tioga.freedomist.com