Abcarian: Do video cameras make you feel safe, or just show you how dangerous your neighborhood is?
The neighborhood of Abcarian, like most neighborhoods, has its share of crime. But one neighborhood in particular has been singled out for high-tech surveillance for years.
Residents of the tiny, rural town in California have been alarmed by the recent addition of cameras in their neighborhood.
The cameras are not part of any official police department, but rather are placed on property belonging to the City of San Luis Obispo, which is an outlier to the rest of the state. Since 2015, the cameras have been a regular feature of the area’s streets, providing a constant stream of surveillance to law enforcement.
The first thing everyone notices when they arrive in Abcarian is the number of cameras.
“I mean, it’s almost like you’re in a bad neighborhood in New York or L.A. where you don’t look at the cameras, and when you do, you just see the crime,” said Abcarian resident Jessica Pappagianni.
The cameras in Abcarian have received plenty of criticism over the years. A few months earlier, the City of San Luis Obispo announced plans to put in additional cameras to monitor the streets.
But Pappagianni is among those who believe that the city’s surveillance techniques are unconstitutional. She believes the cameras are being used to monitor citizens and is particularly concerned that the area’s residents are not adequately informed about the cameras, thus making them “more vulnerable to becoming victims or witnesses of crime.”
While Pappagianni and others in Abcarian complain about the cameras, others worry that their residents are just as susceptible to crime as the ones who live above them.
Cameras are a tool often used to enforce petty, lawless behavior, but they can also serve a larger purpose: To show