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Woodinville Eyes Adding Federally-Funded Surveillance Cameras to Parks and Streets

· Regional News (gen 36:20) · No Comments

The City of Seattle recently installed surveillance cameras along its waterways. Now, Woodinville is considering the same for its streets and parks. (Credit: KOMO News)

Woodinville, Washington looks to be yet another city in favor of having surveillance cameras in public places. In an attempt to help fight crime in the city, a proposal, including a federal grant, has been set into motion.

City manager Alexandra Sheeks claims the proposal would’ve been helpful for catching criminals in past by capturing images of bank robbers or license plate numbers. And the funding for this “crime-fighting” proposition? It comes from the Department of Justice. KOMO News reports:

Seattle residents and councilmembers voiced concerns about the potential for the cameras and drones to spy on civilians and argued they should have been better informed before the money was spent and the cameras were installed.

In the wake of the outcry, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn grounded the drone program and instructed the Police Department to return its two drones to the manufacturers.

Sheeks said the city has been paying attention to what happened in Seattle and has launched a public survey before purchasing surveillance cameras with its Department of Justice grant.

“That’s why we’re going out with this public process now,” she said. “We really want to know what people and businesses think.”

The online survey asks residents if they think cameras would improve public safety or are an invasion of privacy, among other questions.

Sheeks said a preliminary meeting with the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce went fairly well, though she expects the city will hear both sides of the argument from its residents.

At this point, the city doesn’t know the amount nor locations of camera placement. In addition, officials also do not know how the grant money will be spent if the public is overwhelmingly opposed to surveillance cameras, Sheeks said.