Put On The Red Light: East Orange, NJ, To Shine a Red Spotlight On Suspected Pre-Crime Targets

I don't think this is as creepy as it initially sounds. The idea is that there are red lamps atop surveillance cameras. Rather than the cameras just passively recording scenes, cops monitoring the cameras will choose to aim the red lamp at suspected malefactors, letting them know they're being watched.

It strikes me that this is similar to the debate over concealed carry/open carry. In concealed camera, the idea is that it would reduce crime if anyone could be carrying a gun, so don't mess with citizens.

The crime-control argument for open carry is: Yes, but that's all hypothetical and probabalistic and therefore abstract and therefore largely ignored. If a criminal sees a guy wearing a gun, it's tangible, and he knows to go elsewhere.

If you have the cameras in the first place (which seems the real place to lodge a libertarian complaint), I'm not sure if there's any additional problem with letting the people who are being watched know they're being watched.

I know this tells the criminal not to commit the crime, and hence you can't arrest him, but then, there is a value in that crime not being committed, isn't there?

Now, one problem is similar to the knock on open-carry (as far as crime deterrence): if you don't see the red light, is that then a green light?

And how many of these can really be manned?

As O'Reilly says, now tell me where I'm going wrong. I suppose the main objection is that it extends the power of police harassment and surveillance. Which I do get.

Posted by: Ace at 01:32 PM



Comments

1
Big Brother Clown Nose is watching you.

Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:34 PM (G/zuv)

2 It's creepy. They'll be watching like crazy.

Posted by: rdbrewer at January 20, 2012 01:34 PM (lf/II)

3 Know any cops?
They'll paint the whole damn town red.

Posted by: kdny at January 20, 2012 01:35 PM (zNYzf)

4 You don't have to put on the red light.

Posted by: Eddie Murphy at January 20, 2012 01:35 PM (lf/II)

5 Cameras are bad.

Posted by: kdny at January 20, 2012 01:35 PM (zNYzf)

6 You don't have to sell your body to the night.

Posted by: Sting at January 20, 2012 01:36 PM (lf/II)

7 >>>It's creepy. They'll be watching like crazy.

"Creepy" isn't a definitive objection, though.

The town is sort of overrun with Crips and Bloods.

Posted by: ace at January 20, 2012 01:36 PM (nj1bB)

8 I like the idea of a red light accompanied by a volley of warning shots.

Posted by: Gristle Encased Head at January 20, 2012 01:36 PM (+lsX1)

9 Does the green light become an argument for lack of probable cause. But also, does the red light become a short cut for probable cause? (The red light was on therefore the arrest was justified.)

Posted by: AMartel at January 20, 2012 01:37 PM (1Bqk7)

10 Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable tyrant.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Has Joined Team Meteor at January 20, 2012 01:37 PM (8y9MW)

11
In other news...

sales of ski masks in NJ skyrocket

Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:37 PM (G/zuv)

12 No Pictures!

Posted by: Micturating Marine at January 20, 2012 01:38 PM (JgNE0)

13 Our local Walmart has something like a dozen security cams atop the roof, looking out over the parking lot. It feels like driving into a gulag.

Yet I believe it was last year that a story came out about a woman getting raped in a Walmart parking lot in some other state. Despite the cameras, Walmart did nothing; claimed they weren't obligated to. Left unanswered was, did anyone actually watch what was going on thru a monitor somewhere, and didn't lift a finger to stop it?

All these cameras are BS that make the average person uncomfortable, and aren't taken seriously by the real criminals.

Posted by: CoolCzech at January 20, 2012 01:38 PM (niZvt)

14 My hatred of cameras aside, this will only lead to fewer arrests after the fact.
You don't deter Bloods and Crips, you just move them on. Once the red light is not there, they will figure no camera and it's go time.

Posted by: kdny at January 20, 2012 01:39 PM (zNYzf)

15 Bill O'Reilly is a nuisance.

Posted by: AMartel at January 20, 2012 01:40 PM (1Bqk7)

16
Obama can sing one line in a song and all of a sudden he is a virtuoso.

Rara avis.

A true renaissance man.


Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:40 PM (G/zuv)

17
I'm against giving the government this type of power, whether it be manned or unmanned.

This goes too far.

If you want a free society, then there are certain risks you have to accept.

Posted by: Ben at January 20, 2012 01:40 PM (wuv1c)

18 We find this plan to be doubleplusgood.

Posted by: Ministry of Love at January 20, 2012 01:40 PM (DrWcr)

19
Obama sang six words perfectly on tune!

Woo hoo.

Stop the presses.

Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:41 PM (G/zuv)

20 Obama can sing one line in a song and all of a sudden he is a virtuoso.


Does the Alphabet Song really count?

Posted by: CoolCzech at January 20, 2012 01:41 PM (niZvt)

21 The better idea is to kill the criminals while they are in the act of committing a crime. You don't have to pay for their incarceration and trials and that is one less criminal that will eventually be let out.

Posted by: devilish at January 20, 2012 01:42 PM (3eTJD)

22 sales of ski masks in NJ skyrocket

This. This is the reason to oppose it.

The value of cameras is not in deterrence (unlike carrying a gun). The value of cameras is in enforcement. The camera won't stop anyone from doing anything. By keeping them "hypothetical and probabalistic and therefore abstract and therefore largely ignored," you actually make them more effective at their actual purpose.

If you make them more overt, people will forget about them less, and they'll actually be less effective (as people go to greater lengths to obscure their identities).

Now, I don't like the cameras in the first place, but if NJ wants them there, they should at least be effective. They remain most effective by being forgotten (by the criminals).

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Has Joined Team Meteor at January 20, 2012 01:42 PM (8y9MW)

23 How did East Orange get the machine from Person of Interest?

Posted by: The Q at January 20, 2012 01:42 PM (LnQhT)

24
16 Obama can sing one line in a song and all of a sudden he is a virtuoso.I'm just honored he covered my hit single, What What!

Posted by: Samwell at January 20, 2012 01:42 PM (DrWcr)

25 Baltimore City has these cameras on every block in "suspect" neighborhoods. When you drive through the hood it makes you feel less secure than if they weren't there in the first place.

Posted by: Truck Monkey at January 20, 2012 01:42 PM (jucos)

26 The town is sort of overrun with Crips and Bloods.

You don't want to go to East Orange. It's like Newark at night, 24 Hrs. a day.

Posted by: garrett at January 20, 2012 01:43 PM (JgNE0)

27 If they used an Eye of Sauron design for the spotlight it would be extra cool.

Posted by: al-Cicero, Tea Party Jihadist at January 20, 2012 01:43 PM (QKKT0)

28
FWIW, some news magazine show a while back ran stories on one of the "Security Testing Grounds" that Walgreen's uses where they basically modify the store regularly to see what lowers crime. Their studies found that gigantic obvious security cameras did a lot more to prevent crime than hidden ones.
Of course this is nothing more than proving Foucault's point about Bentham's panopticon, if we think we're being watched (even if we aren't) we're more likely to "self-censor" (e.g. behave.).
Interestestingly, the Red light thing may actually upset that balance and make things worse (as Ace notes.) One of the key elements of the Panopticon is that you shouldn't know if you are being watched at any given moment. (The hypotethical Gaurd in Bentham's work was in a tower such that the prisoners couldn't see him.) So in reality, the camera would need a motion detector that would randomly shine a red light on people regardless of a person on the watching end of the camera. Of course, then you're really just back at Ginormous visable camera.

Posted by: tsrblke at January 20, 2012 01:44 PM (SYrwI)

29 Depending on the type of crime, obviously, but this just delays any given crime rather than stopping it.

Posted by: The Terminally Boned at January 20, 2012 01:44 PM (+6ZZN)

30 If your law enforcement can't prosecute people and put them in jail, this is the crap you have to resort to.

Posted by: luagha at January 20, 2012 01:45 PM (Dk9yX)

31
It'd be funny if hackers got control of the red lamps and started 'pinging' random pedestrians. Follow a guy from corner to corner, letting Steve know were watching him.

Posted by: Serious Cat at January 20, 2012 01:45 PM (2YIVk)

32 This business will get out of control.
It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it. (I can do this in my sleep!)

Posted by: Admiral Painter at January 20, 2012 01:45 PM (oif6Y)

33 How does the red light cameras work with Microsoft's ghetto app? Seems our elites are falling for the British model of policing: film and then arrest it. Not so sure this actually works to lessen crime given the payscales of prison guards.

Posted by: Sub-Tard at January 20, 2012 01:45 PM (ursbV)

34 So, the cops can stake out a location from the comfort of the donut shop?

Posted by: Krispy Creaming at January 20, 2012 01:45 PM (E7yM+)

35 You cannot outsource law enforcement to a camera or a computer. Law enforcement concerns are best addressed by actual law enforcement, including clear and fair laws, relentless and impartial enforcement thereof, and actual consequences for actual crimes. All of which is being undermined in various ways by the current government in favor of selective push button outsourced law enforcement.

Posted by: AMartel at January 20, 2012 01:46 PM (1Bqk7)

36 31 It'd be funny if hackers got control of the red lamps and started 'pinging' random pedestrians. Follow a guy from corner to corner, letting Steve know were watching him.
Posted by: Serious Cat at January 20, 2012 01:45 PM (2YIVk)
I don't know how funny it would be, but I would fully expect "Anonymous" to do just that.

Posted by: Insomniac at January 20, 2012 01:46 PM (DrWcr)

37 That way, if the red light isnot on, the criminal can act with impunity. It's kind of like saying "all clear!".

Posted by: OCBill at January 20, 2012 01:46 PM (YJvVE)

38 I dunno. Anything that deliberately targets "potential" criminals seems to be a bridge too far. I'd prefer something like a "no loitering" rule, where the action taken by the police is in response to a specific infraction that has occurred, rather than a potential one that hasn't.

Otherwise, you start down the road towards preventive laws "for your own safety".

Posted by: JeremiadBullfrog at January 20, 2012 01:47 PM (JiWgJ)

39 This will certainly make it easier to locate the minorities in crowded areas.

Posted by: Entropy at January 20, 2012 01:47 PM (mf67L)

40 FWIW, some news magazine show a while back ran stories on one of the
"Security Testing Grounds" that Walgreen's uses where they basically
modify the store regularly to see what lowers crime. Their studies
found that gigantic obvious security cameras did a lot more to prevent
crime than hidden ones.

I can believe that's true. And if the point of the cameras is "deterrence," then I see the point of the red light (sort of- again, does that just mean they look for the light, and if it's not there go ahead with their crime, sure in the knowledge they're not being recorded?). But cameras shouldn't exist for "deterrence," that's way too Big Brother (for something that's already pretty Big Brother anyway), and just another step along the road to tyranny.

That, of course, is for city cameras. I'm all for specific businesses doing anything they can (legally) to deter crime on their own premises.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Has Joined Team Meteor at January 20, 2012 01:48 PM (8y9MW)

41 Real key? People will suddenly realize how much they are ALREADY being watched...
Heck... I'd like to make this a National Law, that they HAVE to do this...
The Government has decided they can watch us in public, with no notice... becuase with Technology we no longer have a 'reasonable expectation of Privacy'... and they now argue they can put a Device on your Car to track your movements is its on a Public Street...
Question becomes... is the Government the Master, and Owns the 'Public Sphere'? or are we the Masters of the Government, thus WE own the 'Public Sphere'... and can therefore DECIDE if we wish to be watched, and what limitations to put on the Governments watching us.
Funny how Government ALWAYS uses the excuse of Saftey, to take Freedom... when they do not, and can not, make us safe.

Posted by: Romeo13 at January 20, 2012 01:48 PM (lZBBB)

42
He sang six words.

Like that has never been done before. And the crowd cheered! They cheered as if they never heard anyone sing [six words] so beautifully.

Obama is our Kim Jong Il.

Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:48 PM (G/zuv)

43 It strikes me that this is similar to the debate over concealed carry/open carry.

It's not the same. In conceal carry, it is the individual. In the case of cameras it is the state. Huge difference.

Posted by: dogfish at January 20, 2012 01:48 PM (NuPNl)

44 The red light should be changed to infrared, and used as a target designator.

Posted by: Bob Saget at January 20, 2012 01:49 PM (SDkq3)

45 I'm just honored he covered my hit single, What What!
Posted by: Samwell at January 20, 2012 01:42 PM (DrWcr)

Oh man that's funny. You just made my day.

Posted by: wooga at January 20, 2012 01:49 PM (vjyZP)

46 Waiting for the first racial profiling case related to this....

Posted by: Leigh T at January 20, 2012 01:49 PM (nvLbV)

47 They need to be equipped with lasers so they can zap crooks and people who look funny.

Posted by: mike at January 20, 2012 01:49 PM (WnI5L)

48 Funny how Government ALWAYS uses the excuse of Saftey, to take Freedom... when they do not, and can not, make us safe.
Precisely.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Has Joined Team Meteor at January 20, 2012 01:50 PM (8y9MW)

49 37 That way, if the red light is not on, the criminal can act with impunity. It's kind of like saying "all clear!".
Posted by: OCBill at January 20, 2012 01:46 PM (YJvVE)
Next up? the light on the camera burns out, and the criminal uses a 'entrapment' defense?

Posted by: Romeo13 at January 20, 2012 01:50 PM (lZBBB)

50 'reasonable expectation of Privacy'...

This statement always sets me off. Who decided my expectation? I still have an expectation, it is just being violated. Kinda like a peeping tom.

Posted by: dogfish at January 20, 2012 01:50 PM (NuPNl)

51
What if we just poisoned the crack supply and see what happens? Wouldn't that be cheaper than buying a shitload of cameras that then need operators to watch all day long. Are we going to outsource the camera operator function to India? Lots of questions.

Posted by: Sub-Tard at January 20, 2012 01:50 PM (ursbV)

52
After Obama sang the six words, he laughed and said, "You didn't think I'd do it."

Do What?

You sang six words.

How brave!

Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:51 PM (G/zuv)

53 Maryland has gone full Orwell. Cop cams in Baltimore City and Speed and Red Light cameras all over the state. I fucking hate it here but cannot escape as I'm married to a house.

Posted by: Truck Monkey at January 20, 2012 01:52 PM (jucos)

54 If I stay away from the liberty vs security argument, I say I want the red light on if I am being watched. Its not illegal to flip off the camera is it.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at January 20, 2012 01:52 PM (JYheX)

55
You gotta give credit to Obama, though.

Because Obama is no different from other past presidents.

When Andrew Jackson tore through Florida, he said, "Heheh, yeah, you didn't think I'd do it, did you, Mr. Madison, heheh?"

Posted by: soothsayer at January 20, 2012 01:52 PM (G/zuv)

56 Its not illegal to flip off the camera is it.
Public display of indecency.

Posted by: Entropy at January 20, 2012 01:53 PM (mf67L)

57 Then there is race. It would appear that East Orange has a goodly number of black officers. This is good to have at the point of arrest in a predominately black area of town.
But if the red spotlight is harrassing you, the suspicion will always be that there is some racist cop on the other end of the camers.

Posted by: kdny at January 20, 2012 01:54 PM (zNYzf)

58 Who decided my expectation? I still have an expectation, it is just being violated. Kinda like a peeping tom.

SCOTUS in some decision, I'm sure. Maybe even Roe v Wade.

SCOTUS, meet Law of Unintended Consequences. Law of Unintended Consequences, meet SCOTUS. Oh, you already know each other?

Because, to make up some other right (and I'm pretty sure it was RvW that did it), SCOTUS had to invent a "Right to Privacy" in the constitution- but that didn't exist (it didn't need to), so they had to make up some fake scaffolding to try to hold up their fake "Right," but as soon as they did that, they put rules into effect which could be subverted and/or circumvented.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) Has Joined Team Meteor at January 20, 2012 01:54 PM (8y9MW)

59

I figure were only around 25 years away from being able to write monitoring software that can analyze video and read human interaction well enough to flag for suspected activity.

Posted by: Serious Cat at January 20, 2012 01:54 PM (2YIVk)

60 This will make the already lazy cops more lazy. Great idea!

Posted by: Anarchos at January 20, 2012 01:55 PM (EL+OC)

61 if that's even possible.

Posted by: Anarchos at January 20, 2012 01:55 PM (EL+OC)

62 56
Its not illegal to flip off the camera is it.
Public display of indecency.
Posted by: Entropy at January 20, 2012 01:53 PM (mf67L)
Disorderly conduct or some other such nonsense, I'd wager.

Posted by: Insomniac at January 20, 2012 01:56 PM (DrWcr)

63 Wait until they come up with "hate" crime cameras. That gives me a good idea.....

Posted by: Truck Monkey at January 20, 2012 01:56 PM (jucos)

64 (and I'm pretty sure it was RvW that did it)
RvW was based on the 'right to privacy' precedent, it did not create it.

Posted by: Entropy at January 20, 2012 01:56 PM (mf67L)

65 60 This will make the already lazy cops more lazy. Great idea!
Posted by: Anarchos at January 20, 2012 01:55 PM (EL+OC)
Plus provide them with additional fapping material.

Posted by: Insomniac at January 20, 2012 01:57 PM (DrWcr)

66 56
Its not illegal to flip off the camera is it.
Public display of indecency.

Two fucking demerits?! *beep*

Posted by: Judge Dread at January 20, 2012 01:57 PM (oif6Y)

67 Disorderly conduct or some other such nonsense, I'd wager.
That's the key. Something, because you do not disrespect their authoritai.

Posted by: Entropy at January 20, 2012 01:57 PM (mf67L)

68 ahhhh...my hometown. Doing me proud as ever.

Posted by: MDH3 at January 20, 2012 01:58 PM (GKyUC)

69 "I figure were only around 25 years away from being able to write monitoring software that can analyze video and read human interaction well enough to flag for suspected activity."

That's the plot device behind "Person of Interest" (which is surprisingly good, btw.) I think we're closer than 25 years, though. Probably five.

Posted by: Galos Gann at January 20, 2012 02:02 PM (T3KlW)

70 John Spartan, you are fined one credit for violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.

Posted by: Verbal Morality Statute Ticket Machine at January 20, 2012 02:03 PM (DrWcr)

71 I don't mind this kind of thing being in ghettos because they've earned the lack of respect, but I'll be damned if I'd put up with this kind of shit in my cushy crime-free neighborhood. The idea of some dopey donut stuffer monitoring me kind of makes me angry.

Posted by: Deuce at January 20, 2012 02:05 PM (E55AK)

72 I'm all for it, but only if the red lights are built to resemble the Lidless Eye of Sauron.

Posted by: Jordan at January 20, 2012 02:08 PM (RSG1I)

73
cameras are passive. I think the red light thing is da stoopid... trying to make them an active deterent when criminals could care less.. mostly.
I'm in favor of cops on the street of bad areas, and open carry. Carry concealed if you prefer, but I like the option. I guarantee a grocery store that gets the look over and the perps see 4 or 5 men in the store with holstered pistols will go find a different store.. risk aversion you see...

Posted by: Yip at January 20, 2012 02:12 PM (Mrdk1)

74 Didn't Orwell have something similar in 1984, or was that just the two-way tvs?

Put some miniguns on the top so that you can turn anyone actually committing a violent crime into spam and I'm in.

Let me RUN the camera, and I'm ALL IN!!!

Posted by: blindside at January 20, 2012 02:13 PM (x7g7t)

75 69 "I figure were only around 25 years away from being able to write monitoring software that can analyze video and read human interaction well enough to flag for suspected activity."

That's the plot device behind "Person of Interest" (which is surprisingly good, btw.) I think we're closer than 25 years, though. Probably five.
Posted by: Galos Gann at January 20, 2012 02:02 PM (T3KlW)

That's the entire plot of Minority Report.

Posted by: blindside at January 20, 2012 02:13 PM (x7g7t)

76 But if the red spotlight is harrassing you, the suspicion will always be that there is some racist cop on the other end of the camers.

Posted by: kdny at January 20, 2012 01:54 PM (zNYzf)

Wrong. This will only be aimed at white people.

No foul.

Posted by: blindside at January 20, 2012 02:14 PM (x7g7t)

77 Who's watching the watchers?
DOJ?

....hi there

Posted by: ontherocks at January 20, 2012 02:15 PM (ZJCDy)

78 It might be more effective if it was a red laser.

Posted by: Zombie Walt at January 20, 2012 02:34 PM (sau3P)

79 50 'reasonable expectation of Privacy'...This statement always sets me off. Who decided my expectation? I still have an expectation, it is just being violated. Kinda like a peeping tom.
Posted by: dogfish at January 20, 2012 01:50 PM (NuPNl)
Yes, it all depends on what the definition of 'Reasonable' is... and who decides that question...
If the Government decides? well.... I wrote a book that was supposed to be a cautionary tale... not a How To Manual

Posted by: George Orwel at January 20, 2012 02:34 PM (lZBBB)

80 77 Who's watching the watchers?DOJ?....hi there
Posted by: ontherocks at January 20, 2012 02:15 PM (ZJCDy)
We plead the 5th, Congress...

Posted by: DOJ at January 20, 2012 02:35 PM (lZBBB)

81 Then there is race. It would appear that East
Orange has a goodly number of black officers. This is good to have at
the point of arrest in a predominately black area of town.
But if the red spotlight is harrassing you, the suspicion will
always be that there is some racist cop on the other end of the camers.

Posted by: kdny at January 20, 2012 01:54 PM (zNYzf)

That doesn't apply in this case, because there are no white parts of town. East Orange is about 98% black. There are, by the way, some sections of East Orange that are middle class. It also has some strong church communities. However, it is right next to Newark, and parts of it are poor, run down and gang infested. My guess is that the better areas aren't all that safe after dark.

Posted by: Burke at January 20, 2012 02:48 PM (9N3G1)

82 Aiming lights, cool. Next step, tasers - to discourage hardened criminals

Posted by: Jean at January 20, 2012 03:35 PM (WkuV6)

83 Ace, I'll assume you have NO idea what East Orange is like.

East Orange is one of the Oranges (East, West, South and just plain Orange, which technically is North Orange I guess but w/e).

When the Newark Riots took place back in the 60s, East Orange took the brunt of the damage as rioters pushed out in whatever directions they could - Route 280 and the Northeast Corridor rail line served as barriers that helped the National Guard, Newark and State Police, and local gun owners keep the rioters from spreading north or east out of Newark.

That's all well and good, right? How does that affect now? Well, the areas the rioters struck are still heavily impacted. Downtown Newark has only recently (within the past ten to fifteen years) started to recover, and there's a ton of work yet to be done. The outlying areas affected by the riots, specifically Irvington, Elizabeth and East Orange, are nowhere near as recovered as Newark, nor do they have the cachet, political strength or capital to fix anything. Police forces in these towns do everything they can but there's only so much they can do - they're stretched extremely thin, and the lack of capital available to the towns means they need to think smarter about how and where they spend their budget.

Right now, the areas hit by the riots are just not safe areas - and the cops in those towns need every tool possible. Well, really, honestly they need Republican leaders, but it's doubtful they'll get them - mainly because the people who are strong enough to lead are trying to get their families away from those towns as fast as possible.

So do I agree with this tactic? No, but I understand why they're trying it.

Posted by: Jim_from_NJ at January 21, 2012 11:26 AM (yrFke)

84 The real problem color in East Orange, NJ is black.

Posted by: Fubu at January 21, 2012 05:07 PM (v5IXp)

85 there is a value in that crime not being committed, isn't there?

Winston rolled the thin, drooping cigarette around both corners of his cracked and chapped lips. Cheap, rot gut oily gin was the order of the day. But then it was the order of every day.

Posted by: Carl Spackler at January 21, 2012 07:57 PM (I6KKl)

86 my hometown. Doing me proud as ever.
engadget free classifieds

Posted by: tekory at January 23, 2012 04:14 PM (hiP3l)

87 engadget free classifieds

Posted by: tekory at January 24, 2012 03:58 PM (a+K4s)






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