Out of Control Policy Blog

Big Bellwood is Watching You

From the "Orwell must be spinning in his grave" department:

    In the hopes of eliminating crime, [Bellwood, IL] officials say they'll have all the public ways in the 3.5-square mile town under camera surveillance within two years.

    Though other cities like Chicago have set up cameras in high-crime neighborhoods, Bellwood will be the first town in Illinois, and possibly the first in the country, to have every public thoroughfare, sidewalk and alley under the watchful digitized eye of the Bellwood Police Department.

    . . . .

    Bellwood's mayor said he welcomed the suggestion that his town might be considered something akin to a Big Brother-land.

    "I wish we could create that image. I would love that," Mayor Frank Pasquale said with a chuckle. Although village officials say their town is not unsafe, and in fact crime has dropped in the last two years, they are aiming for a crime-free future.

Full article here. I don't know what's scarier...the mayor gushing over the "Big Brother" comparison, or the general lack of community outrage for having their entire public lives placed under surveillance.

This is a tough one to challenge. The objection to total monitoring is based on moral and societal -- rather than legal -- arguments, so it's by nature a much hazier playing field. Unfortunately, the tired, old "well if you're not committing a crime then you have nothing to worry about" rationale hits home with a lot of people.

(hat tip: Instapundit)

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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