December 30, 2004
Daddy's got them Deep Ellum blues

You know how some people have fretted that traffic cameras would lead to less privacy? This is the sort of thing we worry about.

Dallas police have joined with private businesses in the city's Deep Ellum entertainment district to watch the area by camera.

Dallas police will be able to monitor crowds from 16 cameras on the roofs of three businesses in Deep Ellum. The businesses and police will share the footage via the Internet.

"The intent is not just to provide real-time video images but to provide a history of what happened," Chief David Kunkle said. "This is part of making the city of Dallas safer."

While police say crime in the area is down about 12 percent since last year, several high-profile fights and robberies have made some visitors nervous. Business owners have asked for additional police presence.

"It's one of many steps aimed to make Deep Ellum safer in 2005," said Mark McNabb, executive director of the Deep Ellum Association.

Virtual Surveillance of Plano donated about $20,000 worth of equipment and services for the pilot project. The cameras will remain in place indefinitely.

When you go down to Deep Ellum, just to have a little fun
Have that ten dollars ready when the policeman comes

-- from the Deep Ellum Blues.

UPDATE: More from Byron and Grits.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 30, 2004 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack

Since I actually live in the metroplex, I'd like to point out a couple of things:

1. Deep Ellum used to be a hip-happening type of place. It was full of clubs, live music, etc.

2. The city of Dallas did little to make the area nice. There are few streetlights and little police presence in the area itself.

3. As a result, that part of town just kinda faded from view.

So now they want to use cameras instead of improving the existing infrastructure....


Posted by: Kevin Jones on December 30, 2004 3:12 PM

Easy solution -- don't go to Deep Ellum if you don't like it.

If you commit crimes and someone gets your mug on video, what's the problem?

On the other hand, there is a BIG problem when a license plate surveillance photo (and not a mug) gets you an automatic ticket for running a red light.

The two are not the same, despite the efforts of "privacy activists" to portray them that way.

Now, I have some sympathy with folks who might ask, why in the heck are we replacing traditional police manpower with cameras. In Houston, that's a HUGE issue that the local newspaper, the mayor, the council, and most bloggers continue to ignore.

Guess what -- if you're unwilling to fund police cadet classes, then you get cameras everywhere. Smile!

Posted by: kevin whited on December 31, 2004 11:20 PM