One of the cheap thrills in my life is checking the police blotter in the newspaper. There is always an interesting story or three, like the guy who was asking women to sign his member and I donâ€™t mean jacket. But thatâ€™s not what I am curious about here.
More than a month ago a big hairy deal was made about the multitude of surveillance cameras installed in and around downtown Wilkes-Barre. $2 million worth of gear. Over 50 cameras and a 24 hour a day, seven day a week staff of people including some law enforcement types are watching them. One of the tools is a huge five foot by five foot monitor that will enable the view of Public Square to be in 3-D, just like the movie Avatar. No doubt there are quite a few blue creatures on the square along with other assorted monsters.
That actually sounds like kind of a fun job, spying on people for living.
The job description: Voyeurs wanted. Must bring own 3-D glasses.
The system, while only partially complete now, will eventually control 150 cameras. A smug statement said that while some will be extremely visible, some will be hidden so as to not alert the evil doers of their presence. Hidden surveillance cameras. What a concept.
Hereâ€™s my question. These 50 snooping cameras and the attendant voyeurs have been on the job for a month and a half. Why hasnâ€™t any crime been stopped? The list of cars being broken into and purse snatchings goes on unabated in the police blotter. Wouldnâ€™t it make sense that at least ONE crime in that time frame may have been seen? One perpetrator brought to justice? None that I have seen and I have been looking at least as hard as the ones who are tasked with the job.
Possibly the â€œpowers that beâ€ do not want the success of the $2 million dollar toy that gobbles up $232,000 a year in staffing charges to be publicized.
Yeah, thatâ€™s it. Politicians donâ€™t want to blow their own horn. And this breaking news: a dark planet will crash into the sun in 3â€¦2â€¦1..Hmmm. Never gonna happen.
Or maybe (black helicopter theory warning) all the cameras are just decoys, like the state trooper car that used to sit on I-81 near Scranton with a dummy in the driverâ€™s seat. You could buy a lot of decoys for a few thousand bucks, right? Rig up the press demo with the rented big screens. Then what happens to the rest of the dough?
Am I suggesting that Luzerne County Politically connected might do somethingâ€¦.whatâ€™s the word? WRONG? Perish the thought.
Big brother is watching.
Original publish date 3/20/10