Plan for downtown surveillance cameras comes with opposition in Northampton

Police say it could help solve crimes, some worried about privacy

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Privacy vs. security: police in Northampton are considering a plan to install surveillance cameras downtown.

The cameras would zoom in and out, but won’t be able to pan from side-to-side. The camera feeds would stream live to the police department, and be stored for three weeks. Police say that they’re not interested in watching you eat ice cream, just in keeping you safe.

“Our intent is, if the desk officer is sitting there and all of a sudden hears that there is an armed robbery, they can quickly look on the cameras and see where the person is running or what they are wearing,” Police Chief Jody Kasper said.

The proposal is not without controversy, however. The ACLU’s Bill Newman told 22News that he wants to preserve privacy.

He said that he is wary of anything that would “invade our privacy, take it away, take our images, keep them, store them forever because somewhere, somehow, it might help solve some crime.”

Many businesses have their own surveillance cameras, but police say that the quality often isn’t good.

There will be a public meeting on the issue next Wednesday.