Human surve Human surveillance remains best form of crime monitoring

On the same day Williamsport residents walked and talked with local law enforcement officials as part of National Night Out activities, the city administration was pushing to get surveillance cameras relocated to high-crime neighborhoods.

The serendipity of the timing is fitting.

Because the best surveillance camera around is the human eyeballs of residents in a neighborhood and their communication of what they see with law enforcement officials.

That does not mean relocating some of the city’s surveillance cameras from parks and public places to neighborhoods with a high-crime rate is a bad idea.

In fact, if privacy issues can be resolved, we advocate such action.

But City Council cannot be expected to act without hard facts that make the argument and legal assurances that putting the camera in non-public places won’t result in a string of courtroom appeals.

In the meantime, the best defense against crime remains the same.

It comes with neighbors watching out for neighbors.

It comes with residents informing police about what they are seeing to help them do their jobs.

And it comes with police patrolling neighborhoods, at times on foot, and establishing a personal relationship with residents that makes both parties more comfortable with sharing information.

Neighborhood Crime Watch programs have been around about 25 years. Just because they are old does not mean they are outdated.

To the contrary, given the increases in violence and illegal drug trafficking in the past decade, we are pretty certain we need more neighborhoods involved in Crime Watch programming.

It’s the best form of surveillance – the human kind.