Barrie police ponder CCTV cameras

“I think this is something that the community should have their say in, so I’m pleased the chief is holding these open houses, and I will be very interested in the results and what people have to say.” – Mayor Jeff Lehman

Are CCTV cameras coming to downtown Barrie? The city’s police service is investigating the use of them and wants to know what the public thinks about that.
An open-house forum, hosted by Chief Mark Neelin, is planned for tomorrow at City Hall to get feedback from the community on the possible use of closed circuit television cameras in downtown Barrie.
These cameras are in wide use in a number of cities around the world, most notably in London, UK, where cameras provide blanket surveillance of the city. The cameras in that city are so ubiquitous they have become part of the urban landscape.
The purpose of the Barrie project, police say, would be to “enhance the sense of safety among the public who use Barrie’s downtown areas, and deter crime in the areas under surveillance.” Common complaints about the use of the cameras include privacy concerns.

Mayor Jeff Lehman

Mayor Jeff Lehman says the cameras might be better at identifying perpetrators than preventing crime, but that they could help deter “some of the 2 a.m. silliness on Dunlop Street where there is petty crime such as vandalism, fighting, etc, in the downtown.
He says they may also have an impact on the overall success of revitalization plans.
“If visitors and residents do not feel safe in downtown, we will not succeed with revitalization, so I see this as part of the bigger picture. I think this is something that the community should have their say in, so I’m pleased the chief is holding these open houses, and I will be very interested in the results and what people have to say.”
The forum is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. and 7–9 p.m. in the Sir Robert Barrie Room at City Hall, 70 Collier Street.
Lynn Strachan, councillor for Ward 2, the downtown ward, says she’s not opposed to the use of the cameras, and they could help “improve the overall perception of safety” in the downtown core.
“I do not think that cameras eliminate crime, they are a piece of the puzzle but they are not the only answer. Cameras must be complemented with a police presence downtown and an emphasis on community policing. Cameras are also a very helpful tool in catching people after the fact, leading to arrests and criminal charges.”

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