City mulls surveillance cameras to combat crime
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | February 06,2013
Surveillance cameras have entered Rutland's crime debate.
The Board of Aldermen will discuss the idea of using cameras to monitor the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. A local landlord brought the notion to the board Monday after one of his properties was the site of a home-invasion.
Johnston, owner of 110 Maple St., has been in front of the board several times in recent weeks complaining about proposed or existing city policies he believes infringe on private property rights. He said Monday that he believed there was a “strong distinction” between private and public property and has no problem with cameras monitoring people walking down the street.
Johnston suggested that the area around Maple and Pine streets might serve as a test case in using cameras in crime reduction. He urged the board to take an opportunity he said Bellows Falls missed by pursuing grants that might fund such a program.
In 2005 and 2006, officials in Bellows Falls discussed using a $98,000 federal grant to place security cameras around town in an effort to combat vandalism and other crime problems. The village trustees abandoned the proposal after a fierce public backlash.
The issue was referred to the Public Safety Committee with almost no debate. Alderman Christopher Robinson, who made the motion to refer, said he did not think he agreed with the proposal but that a discussion would not hurt. Alderman Christopher Siliski said there was potential for it to be a good idea, but that he needed to see relevant research.
Rutland City Police Chief James Baker said a surveillance program in residential areas would have to be a community decision and that he would want to hear from the community before weighing in positively or negatively.
That said, he noted that the city already had a number of privately owned security cameras around businesses. He said that vandalism around the train station dropped after security cameras were installed there.
For the complete story, see Thursday's Rutland Herald.