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Durham, NC surveillance flub sparks heated debate

Published by Jennifer on November 21, 2007 3:01 PM

Gary Andrews, owner of the Kountry Kitchen located in downtown Durham, NC is still recovering from an October 8 break-in. Coincidentally, Durham had just installed a state-of-the art wireless camera system in its downtown business district. So why didn't the surveillance cameras catch the Kountry Kitchen Krooks? Wireless.

Wireless glitches and outages have plagued Durham's new municipal surveillance system, causing many officials to doubt the efficiency of the 13-camera system, which cost the city well over $100,000. Some officers are even petitioning the city to mandate a hard-wired connection between camera and monitor to ensure that accidents like the Kountry Kitchen slipup do not happen again. After all, they say - isn't that the point of surveillance?

Supporters of the system say that there just a couple of kinks to work out in the system and that citizens should trust the new technology...but even though the Kountry Kitchen only lost an outdated VCR and $10 in change, business owners and Durham citizens are still split over the technology. Should it stay or should it go?

Wireless technolgy, IP cameras and "mesh" networks for municipal systems have enormous potential for keeping municipal areas safe from robbery, violence, vandalism, and any number of crimes. But what are city officials to do when the technology can't match the demand? What do you think?