Please support the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s COVID-19 coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate.

Thank you for your support of the Gazette.

Michael Moses, Publisher

Jonathan R. Wynn: Opposes surveillance cameras downtown

  • jacoblund

Published: 9/15/2017 9:58:02 PM
Opposes surveillance cameras downtown

On Wednesday night, Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper made a proposal for increasing camera surveillance systems in the downtown area (“Many uneasy with idea of surveillance cameras,” Sept. 14). I am very much opposed to the idea.

Jane Jacobs, in “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” states the need for more interactions to keep urban areas both safe and lively. She recommends more activity, community and engagement in American downtowns. “Eyes on the street,” she says. She, of course, means human eyes.

The increase of electronic eyes is anything but a noninvasive form of an authoritarian gaze. The “Big Brother” gaze seeps into public spaces but also our minds, consciously or not. Furthermore, no data was given to prove that this would be an effective tool for our community, nor that we are in imminent danger from a terrorist attack.

The noneconomic cost is far too great. Particularly in this era of increased militarization of police departments, and in this era when Northampton is being a more welcoming community and a sanctuary city, we need to think about how this police gaze affects our most vulnerable populations — those who are new immigrants, who battle drug addiction, who struggle to find shelter and employment, and our communities of color.

I commend Chief Kasper for listening to our community. But I also commend her honesty for acknowledging that she cannot promise to keep those recordings of our protests, of our sidewalk interactions, of our most vulnerable communities from an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian federal government that seeks to punish sanctuary cities like ours. She cannot say that she could protect these recordings from the FBI or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

And for that reason alone, it couldn’t be a worse climate to enact such a program.

Jonathan R. Wynn


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy