Wealthy Long Island village is planning an extensive network of security cameras that scan license plates
(CBS New York) – If you visit Kings Point, big brother will be watching.
The affluent community is hoping to prevent crime by going high-tech — by setting up a sophisticated network to screen every vehicle that goes in or out of town.
Kings Point is one of the wealthiest villages on the North Shore, and residents want to keep it that way with the latest security.
“I think it’s great,” one resident told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
To protect its 3.3 square miles, Kings Point plans to install 44 cameras and license plate readers at each of the 19 points of entry. The devices will take pictures of every vehicle and license plate and compare them to data bases.
“It will alert us to suspended registrations, felonies, stolen cars, order of protection, sex offenders, things like that,” Kings Point Police Commissioner Jack Miller said.
A week and a half ago, CBS 2 reported on a Kings Point woman being followed into her garage and robbed of her diamond ring by two guys who haven’t been caught.
“If they came into the village again with those cameras up, they would pass three of our locations with cameras,” Miller said.
In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, the NYPD put in its so called “Ring of Steel” camera system in lower Manhattan, modeled after the one in London. Kings Point residents Slattery spoke with said they support the plan.
“It doesn’t bother me. I have nothing to hide,” Nancy Roth said.
“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful idea and they should,” Nahal Zelouf added.
“There’s cameras on almost every intersection now. It’s the harsh reality of today’s world,” another resident said.
Privacy advocates call the cameras “overreaching.” The New York Civil Liberties Union said it may not be illegal, but there are privacy concerns.
“Giving up our liberty and our privacy in the name of security doesn’t always make us safer,” the NYCLU’s Samantha Fredrickson said.
Like the police, resident Barbara Stein, used a recent rash of home burglaries in the village to defend the surveillance.
“I mean if it’s caught on video, you know, they’ll have a better chance of apprehending whoever is doing this,” Stein tells WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.
Aaron Freedburg said you have to balance people’s security and their right to privacy.
“[It’s a good balance] as long as you’re respectful to the extent possible of people’s privacy and the things that enhanced security, especially in this day and age, I tend to be in favor of,” Freedburg told 1010 WINS reporter John Montone.
There’s no way of knowing whether the project will reduce crime. It may just send it off to other towns that are less secure.
Police said the project will cost $1 million, and will be paid for over several years. They also stressed only police will have access to surveillance information.