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Protecting the Neighborhood by Video Camera

March 19, 2000|From Inman New Features

Keeping on eye on the neighborhood used to involve watching your neighbor's house or sitting on a porch and watching the world go by.

Now there's technology for the neighborhood watch. Soon, in Macomb Township, Mich., homeowners will be able to keep an eye on the 'hood by watching TV or logging on to the Internet. There, they can find images captured by video cameras placed in common areas, like the community pool and playgrounds.

The real-time video is fed into a TV cable and onto the Web, where images are accessible by entering a password. It's the first-known suburban surveillance system of its kind.

Cornerstone Village and nearby Brittany Park, two new communities featuring the technology, are nearly complete. The developers for both hired national security firm ADT to mount closed-circuit video cameras around the communities.

Some see the cameras as a Big Brother-esque invasion of privacy, even if they are placed in public places.

"It may provide parents with a greater feeling of security," Robert Sampson, a University of Chicago sociology professor, told the Detroit News. "The negative side is that there is sense of futuristic control to the whole thing."

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