Ryan R. O’Donnell: Opposes downtown Northampton surveillance cameras

  • jacoblund

Friday, September 08, 2017
Opposes downtown surveillance cameras

I respectfully oppose the plan advanced by the mayor and the Police Department to install surveillance cameras in public places in downtown Northampton (“Police to air proposal for surveillance cameras,” Sept. 8).

I want Main Street Northampton to be what I have always known it to be — a dynamic, free and open public place. Permanent municipal surveillance, no matter how well intentioned, takes us in the opposite direction.

As a matter of principle, people have a right to not be constantly surveilled in public places. Whatever benefits surveillance of such places might bring would be dramatically outweighed by the drawbacks, among which would be the potential for a significant chilling effect on speech and expression.

Certainly, there could conceivably be some circumstances, times, or places in which judicious use of measures such as these might be necessary and in the public interest. However, I simply do not believe the need exists in the city of Northampton.

I urge the speedy withdrawal of the proposal.

Ryan R. O’Donnell


The writer is an at-large city councilor.