City leaders oppose installing surveillance cameras in downtown Northampton

The city council will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday night

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton Police want to install surveillance cameras to increase public safety downtown.

Northampton City Councilor Alisa Klein told 22News, she’s worried minorities, the homeless and illegals would be unfairly targeted.

“I do believe that cameras should be put in downtown Northampton,” said Northampton resident Jodee Joyce.

The cameras would be able to zoom in and out, but not pan from side-to-side. The camera feeds would stream live to the police department, and be stored for three weeks.

Some city councilors are concerned those images could get into the wrong hands.

Plan for downtown surveillance cameras comes with opposition in Northampton

“Federal immigration authorities could access those images and since we are a sanctuary city and we say all are welcome,” Klein told 22News. “The last thing we want to do is put people, who are undocumented, at risk, because their images have been captured by these downtown cameras.”

While some believe it’s an invasion of privacy, others believe it will increase public safety.

“If someone stole your bag, they could see it on camera and get an identification of that person,” said Joyce. “I think that they’d be able to see a lot of other illegal activity going on.”

Councilor Klein said, she’s worried about minorities and the homeless being unfairly targeted. The city council will consider two measures in opposition to the cameras.

One is an ordinance to prohibit them from being installed and the other, is a resolution, explaining why council members are not in agreement.

The city council will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday night in city council chambers.