The town of Derry plans to place surveillance cameras around Hood Park in an effort to reduce criminal behavior such as drug use and vandalism. But will the cameras make the park safer, or infringe on people’s privacy rights?
Crime in public parks
Criminal behavior related to drug use in public parks has been a growing concern in New Hampshire in light of the opioid crisis. The city of Manchester has attempted to address the problem, in part, by prohibiting smoking in all its public parks. Police say it deters people smoking synthetic marijuana.
In Derry, the town has allocated $20,000 for the cameras. Officials said they expect the equipment -- already in use at another public park, Alexander Carr Park -- will deter criminals and vandals and provide evidence for prosecuting violations.
"Our regular call volume does not allow us to monitor the park as much as we’d like and cameras are a good supplement to our patrol efforts. The cameras capture and record activity at the park that we will be able to later retrieve if a crime is reported there," said Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas.
The downsides of park cameras
Opponents say video surveillance violates privacy rights and civil liberties. They say that even in public places individuals should have an expectation that they aren’t being watched by law enforcement. There are also concerns that surveillance data can be hacked and misused for instances such as blackmail.
What do you think: Are surveillance cameras a good idea in public areas? Let us know yes or no add your comments.