More cameras coming to downtown Houston

Surveillance camera in downtown Houston

August 17, 2010 5:06:45 PM PDT
If a plan by the city of Houston is adopted, just about your every move in downtown Houston would be recorded by cameras. A grant will mean dozens of new security cameras will be installed all over downtown.

The selling point, according to the Houston Police department, is increased public safety. HPD wants to install and create a network of cameras covering downtown, but some are wondering if it's necessary.

Whether riding on the METRORail or just buying baseball tickets at Minute Maid park, it seems everywhere you turn in downtown Houston, there is a camera. Soon, there could be hundreds more.

"I think it could do some good, but I don't think it fits the Texas vibe very well," said resident Elizabeth Guffy.

The Houston Police Department wants to use millions in grant money to install 200 additional cameras by years' end all throughout downtown Houston hoping to increase public safety.

"One of the real advantages is you'll be able to see the scene ahead of time, either for police or fire," said Houston City Council Member Melissa Noriega.

Once the program is fully implemented, you could be at a park nearby or perhaps leaving the library after checking out a book. Even if you're just walking down a public sidewalk, chances are a camera will be watching your movement.

"The observation thing is a little creepy. On the other hand, I think people are observing you all the time," said resident Robert Jarrett.

The program will also connect existing cameras from a number of resources, including Houston police, downtown and METRO, while sending the information to one location where officers can keep track of potential criminal behavior.

At least one council member is unconvinced.

"I don't want us to be Big Brother," said Houston City Council Member Jolanda Jones.

While others see nothing wrong with public monitoring, others do.

"Big Brother is a bad thing until we need it, and then it's like, why didn't we have it," said resident Danny Alvarado.

Whether you approve or not, chances are a camera is already nearby.

Houston City Council is set to vote on the proposal in a few weeks. If it passes, the cameras will be installed by the end of the year.


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