Surveillance cameras that scan city streets are spreading in South Florida as police look for ways to solve crimes.
Coral Springs is the latest to install a web of cameras, as the Broward Sheriff’s Office would like to see them posted all around the county.
Privacy experts say the cameras may go too far, as authorties can become intrusive and open to abuse.
“People should be able to leave their homes without being tracked on a daily basis,” said Saira Hussain, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in California.
The Coral Springs cameras will be mounted on poles such as traffic lights or pedestrian walkways, and University Drive and Sample Road will be the priority because they’re the busiest streets.
Boca Raton police have 430 cameras installed throughout the city. Fort Lauderdale Police have cameras for “safety and security as well as to assist in investigations.”
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright called cameras “tremendously valuable tools that will immediately give investigators eyes on a scene and help them solve crimes and arrest suspects as quickly as possible. We’d like to see installed on poles throughout the county, not just the cities we provide police service. We all know criminals are not bound by jurisdiction,” she said.
County commissioners recently gave their blessing, but some commissioners had questions.
People don’t have an “expectation of privacy anymore because there are cameras everywhere,” said Commissioner Tim Ryan. Still, could a camera accidentally capture scenes from a home window, backyard or swimming pool, near a roadway?
The cameras will help detectives investigate traffic crashes and track fleeing cars, McKeone said. The cameras work separately from license plate reader cameras, which scan plates of passing cars and send information to a state and national database.