Thursday, June 12, 2008

Preventing Vandalism = Homeland Security?

Santa Rosa, California, will spend some of its Homeland Security money on surveillance cameras, in part to prevent vandalism:

Sonoma County transit agencies will buy surveillance cameras with the first installment of voter-approved state Homeland Security funds announced Wednesday.

The county and the city of Santa Rosa will get a combined $57,000 of the $21 million that went to 14 Bay Area bus, train and ferry operators.

Brian Albee, head of Sonoma County Transit, said the agency's $31,800 portion will be used to mount cameras at its West Robles Avenue bus yard. The project is expected to cost about $50,000, he said.

Mona Babauta, Santa Rosa's deputy director of transit, said the city will spend its $25,100 on cameras at some bus stops plagued with vandalism.
Unless they're integrated into a real-time information-reporting system, surveillance cameras are not tools for prevention. They'll help you identify perpetrators after the damage has been done.

The larger question is, is this really a homeland security issue? Just what are we protecting ourselves from? Vandalism may be a problem, but unless it's sabotage, it's not a security threat.

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