Residents of Camden beware, Big Brother is watching. The city has started using surveillance cameras on some of the city's streets and is recording people's license plate numbers. The city says it will send out letters to the owners of 624 warning them that they were spotted in a high crime area of the city.
The warning isn't intended to tell people that they were in a dangerous area, but instead they tell the people that their license plate number has been recorded and they may be charged if their vehicle is tied to a crime. The move by this New Jersey city police department to record people's information just for being in a certain area might lead to unfair charges and the need for a criminal defense for something they didn't do.
The police department is saying that since Camden has a high crime rate and has faced personnel cuts in recent years, this method is more efficient. They say that the people they are sending letters too are people that would normally be stopped for suspicious behavior if police were on the ground in that area.
New Jersey residents and others who visit Camden should also be cautious, as police say they will be sending letters to local jurisdictions where the people spotted in the high-crime areas reside. Criminal defense may be needed for some of the people receiving letters if their vehicles are spotted in an area with these cameras. If the person who owns the vehicle isn't the person driving the car, they may be wrongly accused.
Source: Philly.com, "Visitors to Camden's high-crime areas to be put on notice," Claudia Vargas, Feb. 10, 2012