Traveling Through Medina

Not the city in the Saudi Arabia, but the one located in the state of Washington; actually should be considered a suburb of Seattle, I guess. It  is a  small city of  3,100 with an extraordinarily high average income of several times the national average. It also has a relatively unique sign welcoming those who enter the city limits. ” You are Entering a 24 hour Video Surveillance Area.” Bet that  gets the attention of first time visitors.

The stated goal is a worthy one, of crime prevention and solving crimes if they indeed happen. Opinions vary on that count. Police chief Jeffrey Chen is a fan, maintaining that the cameras(installed at intersections to monitor all incoming traffic) give him  an advantage over  criminals. Since the system takes  a picture of the license plate of all vehicles  and then runs it through a database( don’t know what kind) information can be transmitted directly to police if  a vehicle has been involved in a crime. Voila, a leg up on the evildoers.

Now, the city seems to have a low crime rate, 11 burglaries last year for example. But,according to Chen, one burglary is too many. One other intriguing fact  is that the info is kept for 60 days, just in case something turns up later. If it does,gotcha!

Here comes an unusual thing, at least for me. I am somewhat in agreement with the ACLU  on this one. Doug  Honig is  a spokesman for the Washington ACLU. He has this to say.”Government shouldn’t be keeping records of people’s comings and goings when they haven’t done anything wrong. By actions like this, we’re moving closer and closer to  asurveillance society.”‘  Strongly agree with that. But, a council member in Medina begs to differ. Lucius Biglow says that preventing crime outweighs concerns  over  privacy. Hope he watches his speed through town.

Another member of the council had this to say. “We’re not elitist at all….What we’re doing here is protecting our citizenry.” So said Robert Rudolph.

Just to add to the above story, there is similar activity, albeit on a somewhat larger scale, going on in New York City.Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that  an existing network of surveillance equipment already place in Lower Manhattan will soon expand uptown. This is  due to a Homeland Security grant  received to assist in those efforts.

This comment was made by the myor in response to a criticism of the efforts.To me, it says volumes and I am afraid is a bit chilling. “We live in a world where  we have to have a balance. We can’t just say that everybody can go everyplace and do anything they want.” What he did not add was that if you do, we will very likely be abe to see you do it.


October 11, 2009 - Posted by | Culture, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I was in Wilmington and notice that we have street cams all over the place there, its a coming thing and stores like Wal-mart has parking lot cams. We’re going to become stars! I lived in Manchester just across the sound from Seattle and shopped in Seattle alot. That city needs cams on every corner. 🙂

    Comment by goodtimepolitics | October 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. Maybe you are still on video out there!


    Comment by Tarheeltalker | October 12, 2009 | Reply

  3. Could be! 🙂
    There not only street cams on every road, there is the airplanes and copters above taking your picture. When I was there in the 70’s Washington did have one law that we don’t have here in North Carolina and it was that a police car could not be hiding in order to catch people breaking the traffic laws and could not have police road checks like they do here where they stop all cars. In my travels around the States I find that North Carolina is known for tough traffic laws.

    Comment by goodtimepolitics | October 12, 2009 | Reply

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