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Progressive Cities Creating a Police Surveillance Honeycomb

Cameras will monitor your every move, and it’s all for your own good.

A new trend seems to be emerging in America’s most notoriously progressive cities. In Washington, DC, authorities appear eager to grant police advanced surveillance powers over their residents – for their own good, of course. But the nation’s capital wasn’t the first to dabble in domestic surveillance.

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police (MPD) brass recently revealed a new 24/7 surveillance camera hub. Officials are saying it’s already helping to solve the street crimes that “plagued” the nation’s capital. The operation is extensive. “The high-tech center, comprised of hundreds of cameras with plans to add up to 600 more, with a collection of automated license plate readers and gunshot detectors, will serve what Police Chief Pamela Smith said will be ‘the epicenter of how MPD responds to crimes,’” The Washington Times reported.

Well, it’s certainly true that DC must take bold action to combat a soaring crime rate: an explosion of criminality that saw a 26-year high in killings during 2023. Yet this is the same city that has been especially vocal in championing “criminal justice reform” in the name of racial “equity.” The police are not to be trusted, the progressives claim. The police are the problem.

Bay Area Surveillance City

Washington’s move follows that of another woke major city. In 2022, San Francisco authorized a 15-month pilot program in which police could temporarily tune in to live video feeds from privately owned surveillance cameras. The threat to innocent citizens was immediately apparent.

“The policy was strongly opposed by various community members and some organizations, including the Bar Association of San Francisco. Critics feared that the policy could allow for unchecked mass surveillance that would trample on the privacy rights of local residents and visitors alike,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time.

An update on how the program is going does little to assuage those fears.

“[N]early a year into the experiment, it remains unclear just how effective the strategy of using private cameras is in fighting crime in San Francisco, in part because the Police Department’s disclosures don’t provide information on how live footage was used, how it led to arrests and whether police could have used other methods to make those arrests,” The Chronicle wrote in January.

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is using the cameras to expansively monitor large public gatherings:

“By far the longest monitoring session was during the Outside Lands Music Festival in August in Golden Gate Park, when officers watched 42 total hours of live footage. Police were able to make five arrests for theft, pickpocketing and resisting an officer during that time, but it’s unclear what other use police had for the nearly two consecutive days of live media feeds during the festival.

“Only one of those five arrests led the DA’s office to file charges. That case is listed as pending.”

“It’s a stunning example of SFPD looking at an event of people and just requesting wide access to cameras,” ACLU attorney Matt Cagle told the paper.

There doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of crime-fighting going on there. And while one may shrug off being surveilled by police at a concert, what’s to prevent them from utilizing this same ability to monitor public protests that government officials may frown upon? See how quickly we get to Big Brother?

Newsom and Soros, Too?

It’s hard not to notice that it is progressives leading the way on this policing intrusion into individual privacy rights. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has just helped craft a similar effort across the San Francisco Bay in crime-heavy Oakland.

“Hundreds of high-tech surveillance cameras are being installed in the city of Oakland and surrounding freeways to battle crime, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced” on March 29, the Associated Press reported.

GettyImages-2033128352 Gavin Newsom

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Newsom, a Democrat, said in a news release that the California Highway Patrol has contracted with Flock Safety to install 480 cameras that can identify and track vehicles by license plate, type, color and even decals and bumper stickers. The cameras will provide authorities with real-time alerts of suspect vehicles,” the wire service continued. “Nearly 300 of the cameras will be deployed on city streets and the remainder will be deployed on nearby state highways, according to the governor’s statement.”

DC, San Francisco, Oakland, and perhaps the most progressive governor in America are all leading the way in constructing a surveillance honeycomb. Is it just a coincidence?

The Urban Institute is a hard-left organization at the forefront of denouncing alleged racial bias in policing. Yet this group, which counts globalist billionaire George Soros, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and a host of other powerful moneyed progressive establishment groups among its donors, is also enthusiastic about a police surveillance state.

A 2020 report published by the Institute titled “Public Surveillance Cameras and Crime” is dedicated to identifying and promoting the best technology police can utilize. “Pan-tilt zoom cameras” or “panoramic cameras,” which is the best way to track Americans as they go about their everyday lives?

“In 2016, the Urban Institute received funding from the National Institute of Justice to help the Milwaukee Police Department optimize its surveillance system,” the report begins. The National Institute of Justice is “the research, development and evaluation agency of the US Department of Justice,” its website states. It was working within the Barack Obama presidency at the time of the grant.

“Public surveillance camera systems can be a cost-effective way to deter, document, and reduce crime,” the Urban Institute asserted in a 2013 post on its website. It’s abundantly clear that the same progressives that have been so critical of police officers for decades very much want these same bogeymen in blue to have vast surveillance powers over the constituents they supposedly serve. Why?

Here’s one theory for your consideration.

“The pattern is disturbingly similar. Runaway crime in San Francisco is fueling new infringements on citizen privacy rights, just as public health fears during the coronavirus pandemic sparked unprecedented social curbs on the general public,” Liberty Nation wrote in 2022 on the San Francisco pilot program.

Less than two years later, it all seems so familiar. Crises are not to be wasted. The wave of lawlessness that has been cresting in America today is opening the way for “solutions” ideal for those who see themselves as the rulers and the citizens of this nation as the ruled.

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