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Public Surveillance Cameras....all I want is the truth


Two women looking at wall of surveillance cameras
Video camera wall Photo by Mats Cato from Pixabay

Yes John Lennon, a noble desire. Anyway, I ride the bus a lot due to my being a full time student and some recent downsizing. It happens to be The Bus in Honolulu, Hawaii. I have nothing to compare it to as I have driven my whole life, but it is fine and serves its purpose. I finally noticed that there were surveillance cameras on the bus. OK I suppose, as these days you would expect surveillance cameras on public transportation in large cities in this country. Then I also noticed a sign, that as far as I could tell, was supposed to inform customers of the purpose of the surveillance camera. Then I read the first line "Surveillance cameras have been installed on the bus for your protection." Hmm. So these cameras protect me. What!?


Words matter



Surveillance sign on The Bus (Honolulu)
Surveillance sign on The Bus (Honolulu)

Well obviously my confusion over this sentence must be my problem. Perhaps I did not know the definition of the word "protection". So I went to the Merriem-Webster Dictionary who defines protection as:

: the act of protecting : the state of being protected

Ok. Slightly confusing, so I looked up "protecting" and being "protected" and got this:

:to cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction

So I guess the most important thing I am supposed to take out of this sign is that the surveillance camera will give me protection? How exactly does that work? So I decided to run a vignette through my mind and apply this concept. So I get on the Bus and Psycho Jerry sits behind me. Jerry has on a hoodie, sunglasses, gloves and a medical mask. Jerry knows there are cameras on the buses because he rides them all the time. Today is the day for him. He decides to stick an ice pick through the seat. He times it perfectly and exits the bus. As I writhe in pain it occurs to me that the camera did not protect me.

Say What You Mean


Surveillance camera sign on public transportation
OK...Got it Photo by Stocksnap from PIxabay

So further down on the sign it mentions that film footage could be used by law enforcement for criminal investigations blah blah. They catch Pyscho Jerry due to the camera footage and he can never hurt anyone again. Bravo. Sure didn't do me any good. So what's my point? Say what you mean is all. The Germans who are known for precision in most things put up signs saying "Verboten" which translates to forbidden. What is forbidden you may ask?...anything you can think of..so just move along. If the lawyers say you need a sign to go along with the surveillance camera, don't say it is for my protection. What are we..idiots?


So What?


Picture of bus video camera
Video camera on The Bus (Honolulu)

This piece is not on the value of public surveillance cameras. Whether they deter crime or not is debatable according to what study you look at. There are pro's and con's. In my view dumb criminals do crimes regardless of cameras. That's why they're dumb criminals. Smart criminals do crimes regardless of cameras by employing forensic countermeasures. That's why they're smart criminals. If there are cameras then simply state so.. Don't tell me public surveillance cameras provide me protection. In other words, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

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