Crime, Surveillance, and Communities
I. Bennett Capers
Brooklyn Law School
January 8, 2013
Fordham Urban Law Journal, Forthcoming
Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 320
Quite simply, we have become a surveillance state. Cameras — both those controlled by the state, and those installed by private entities — watch our every move, at least in public. For the most part, this public surveillance is unregulated, beyond the purview of the Fourth Amendment, and to many civil libertarians, should signal alarm. This Article challenges these assumptions, and suggests that in thinking about surveillance cameras and other technologies, we must listen to communities. For many communities, public surveillance not only has the benefit for deterring crime and aiding in the apprehension of criminals. In these communities, public surveillance can also function to monitor the police, reduce racial profiling, curb police brutality, and ultimately increase perceptions of legitimacy. The question thus becomes, not how we can use the Fourth Amendment to limit public surveillance, but rather how can we use the Fourth Amendment to harness public surveillance’s full potential.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: Mass surveillance, surveillance cameras, CCTV, Fourth Amendment, United States v. Jones, communities, community policing
Date posted: January 8, 2013
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