NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield businesses may soon link their security cameras to the police department in real time.
Some Northampton residents said this transition wouldn’t be welcomed in their city.
Some residents told 22News, they don’t like the idea of “Big Brother” always watching their every move, while others said police need the tools to do their job.
The Springfield Police Department is working with local businesses to improve safety downtown. This is an initiative Northampton police tried, but it ran into resistance.
“Having cameras everywhere, every single place you go, especially in a downtown area is a burden on the tax payer dollars,” James Senuta of Northampton told 22News.
Last month the Northampton City Council referred the resolution to two committees for further review.
“Businesses want it because it helps protect,” said James Winston, a lawyer in Northampton.
Close to two dozen demonstrators protested on the steps of City Hall before that city council meeting, holding signs saying they don’t need the cameras.
“There’s not a lot of violence here,” Senuta said.
In Springfield, police are working with the city council to build a security model based on a system used in Detroit.
According to the Springfield Police Department, Detroit saw a 50 percent reduction in crime and a 15 percent boost in businesses.
That plan connected businesses’ real time exterior security cameras with the police department.
In Northampton, the camera feeds would stream live to the police department, and be stored for three weeks.
Some residents like the idea.
“Police, law enforcement obviously want to use cameras as a tool,” Winston told 22News. “Most things that happen in terms of criminal activity, statically at night, where there aren’t as many people around and there isn’t as many witnesses.”
With Northampton being a sanctuary city, there’s also a fear about how that stored video would be used. City council members will vote on the matter Thursday.