George Street TV?

James
James McLeod
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Police consider closed-circuit cameras on downtown strip

Next time you spill out of a bar onto George Street, make sure to smile: you might be on camera.

Bob Johnston, the incoming chief of the RNC, said he'd like to see closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras on George Street to fight crime.

Among the initiatives incoming RNC Chief Bob Johnston said he's considering is adding closed circuit television coverage to George Street. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Next time you spill out of a bar onto George Street, make sure to smile: you might be on camera.

Bob Johnston, the incoming chief of the RNC, said he'd like to see closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras on George Street to fight crime.

"In our attempts to meet those challenges, we will need to consider technologies being utilized in other jurisdictions, both nationally and internationally," Johnston said. "An example of this would be the use of closed-circuit television cameras."

Privacy advocates are leery of the cameras, saying they lead to a culture of fear and suspicion.

Toronto and Calgary police have experimented with CCTV cameras in high-crime areas, and both cities report positive results. The cameras serve as a digital eyewitness and a deterrent to would-be criminals. Hundreds of CCTV cameras were deployed during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Johnston said that the police would have to look at privacy legislation and individual rights before they install any cameras.

"We need to put some parameters around it if we're going to use CCTV cameras; there has to be strong policies on how we're going to access that information," he said. "We're not looking to be moral police, we're looking at dealing with issues that occur; for example, on George Street where - more often than not - when someone is assaulted there's never really a witness that can give credible evidence in court."

The CCTV idea came up at the news conference where Premier Danny Williams announced Johnston would be the new RNC chief.

The idea for cameras on George Street didn't seem to come as a surprise to Williams; he made it sound like an idea that the Justice Department has been considering for a while.

"This is an important piece that the province discussed, and it's important just from an enforcement perspective," Williams said. "We promote George Street as the place to be. Well, you know, it's got to be a safe place."

He said that the cameras would likely be coming "sooner, rather than later."

However, Williams made it sound like maybe he has some privacy concerns of his own.

He joked that "I'll have to get a baseball hat and a pair of dark glasses when I go down there, but that's a small price to pay."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Justice Department

Geographic location: Toronto, Calgary

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Recent comments

  • JD
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    They've had these in lots of Canadian cities for years. A couple years ago they were a huge help in a riot outside a concert in Vancouver, they arrested like 10 people because of these cameras. I don't think there are cops assigned to George St only, are they? Most of these comments make it sound like they expect to see cops on George St at all times. There are lots of other places to drink in St.John's and area and they don't have cops camped out there all night.

  • Anon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Bob Johnston, the incoming chief of the RNC, said he'd like to see closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras on George Street to fight crime.

    I knew this man would be a disaster.

    Wake up people it starts with cameras on George Street and it ends with marshall law. They can already search your home without a warrent if your a registered gun owner. They can't search you on suspicion but they can arrest you on suspicion and then they can search you once youve been arrested.

    Cameras on George Street wont stop crime they'll just give NTV more pictures for the public to look out for and see if they recognise this guy who broke into this place because there are no cops around just cameras.

    Say no to CCTV and the RNC. Bust the punks that rape steal and murder and nothing else. Leave us alone. We don't need to be baby sat by surveilance cameras just so some company can hace a nice contract installing and maintaining these machines of futility.

  • Billy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Cameras are impartial - they'll catch the out-of -line police officers as well as the drunks. Of course, if they get them on George's Street, expect them everywhere - in the interests of non-discrimination, naturally.

  • Mr
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    It's amazing that it's taken this long to come up with this.

  • mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I worked the Doors on GS for years. If the Cops would get out of there cars and be proactive in stoping the assaults then this wouldnt be near an issue. Most just watch fights and then get tough when the 2 or more drunk thugs have beaten each other or often an innocent bystander to a pulp. To busy hitting on the girls to do there job! Tehn again most of them are afraid to do there job anyway.

  • Leah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Civil Liberties, Your comment is a joke, right ?

  • joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    a lot of crime happens downtown. theft, assault, vandalism. everyone is against more surveillance until they become a victim and the creep gets off free.

  • richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Imagine this if you will. everyone keeps talking about the Police not doing their jobs, well now the cameras will catch them not doing their jobs, maybe that's why Danny likes the idea, then everyone can rest easy after half the police force get fired and the thugs and criminals take over, what a great society we now live in.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Half of the clubs on George already have CCTV cameras anyway so putting them on the street's not such a bad idea.

  • rrr
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    heres an idea, why don't the cops do their job and patrol the area... If they showed theirs presents, with uniformed officers there wouldn't be half as much violence on the road. But it is easier to install cameras then deal with the cops union when you tell them they actually have to do their job and get off their bums... I wonder how many grievances would be files if they were told they had to actually work ?

  • Geoge
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    A Suggestion:


    Bob Johnston, the incoming chief of the RNC, should also install camera's at the RNC Headquarters where stolen goods, illegal drugs and stolen money is stored.

    Thanks
    gw

  • Heather
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    If you aren't going to do anything wrong why does it bother you that CCTV is there?

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    hahahaha, ohhhh Danny, you are a delight. Please Marry my daughter.

  • G
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I have to agree with George W Street. Cops won't get out of their cruisers because simply, they are afraid. Police officer today are not like they were years ago. Now you need a university education and size does not matter. No 140 lb cop, girl or guy will walk George Street at 2:00 am.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Wow. George Street is like 100 ft long. How about the Officers just do their job and GET OUT OF THE CAR/OFF THE HORSE and stop drinking their coffees? How is a camera going to help? So they can sit in the warm station with Tim's down the hill and take 20 minutes to drive down when they see a problem?

    How much more lazy can you get. Not to mention an excuse just to put up cameras to 'observe' us. Before we know it, they'll have them all around town.

    Big Brother or what?

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Hopefully this will just be the start of installing cameras in the downtown and other high crime areas in the city.

  • #258962
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Cameras help only after-the-fact investigations and prosecution. They do NOTHING to help people from attack or crimes against the person as it happens. I fear you will see less police bother walk George Street knowing they can go back to headquarters and just review the tape the next morning. It will be more dangerous down there than ever without actual police around. More and more the response we get from the RNC these days is not in real time. If your car or shed has been broken into the RNC doesn't bother come to have a look to see if they can glean some important clues, they just give you a case number to give to your insurance company. That's what we can look forward to on George Street if they install cameras and stop walking the beat. I'm sure they are looking at this as a way to save a significant amount of money. Well, if they do this, they had better make them laser-proof or there'll be no image during that crime.

  • Civil
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Danny wants to keep an eye on you. It's for your own safety. Trust him.

  • Civil
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Yes, Leah. The 'Trust him' part was a joke.

  • jack bauer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    cameras on george ... how about a couple billion to set up NFLD CTU too ...

    stop watching reruns of 24 and get out of your cruisers.

  • Jean...
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I agree 100% with Heather..if you're not doing anything wrong, why would it bother you? As for police not walking the street....guess you'd have to hire many more....they can't be everywhere...If there is a call in the west end...they would have to abandon George St. and get back to their cars to go to another call...time could be crucial...I do agree a bit with the 110lb officers faciing a bar fight....they would need protection..there is someting to be said for physical abilities in such a profession.

  • Dennis
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Why can't police wear cameras as part of their uniforms? Technology has made it cheap and practical to do so.
    Then when someone is arrested there would be a record to use in court. Everything that was said by all partys couldn't be disputed. Officers wouldn't fall victem to false allegations of abuse or rights not being read.
    Then to, maybe the members of the RNC who don't act like they should, would think twice. Unnecessary force when know one is looking might stop. Money might not go missing as much as it dose. Even speaking in a respectful manner regardless of age or class might rise to an exceptable level.
    I'm guessing the new chief, the union and probebly all members of the RNC might not want the spotlight shining to brightly on themselves.

  • jack bauer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    cameras on george ... how about a couple billion to set up NFLD CTU too ...

    stop watching reruns of 24 and get out of your cruisers.

  • George W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    This is crazy! Theres a little differance in Toronto & Calgary. There big cities! George St is what, a few hunderd feet long, it would help if these police officer´s put down their Tim´s coffee and got out of their cars and walked the street, instead of driving up the street all night ,stopping only to chat up the girls.

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    This is a slippery slope folks.

  • Ms.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    This is a stupid idea I think...any crime that does happen down there is obvious enough if you look at it .. 95% of what the cameras will be picking up is drunken antics of people who frequent the street and stupid fights taht break out when people drink too much...

  • Corey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Is crime really that bad right now on George St.? I don't frequent it as much as I used to, but I don't really remember ever seeing much on the go except for a very scattered fight. And seriously, are camera's going to deter a couple of drunk guys (or girls) from fighting? I highly doubt it. Now, if there were some real crimes going on like rape and abductions, then by all means. But, if its just going to be used to catch a few drunken fights, or someone stumbling out of a bar with drink still in-hand, then its a waste of time and money.

    I worry a little about this opening up a whole new can of worms. Is this the start of it? Will this usher in a new era of UK-like CCTV on every street corner? I, for one, would not be happy about that. I know the old saying, if you don't do anything wrong, you don't have to worry, but, I don't like easily giving up my freedoms.

  • Pierre Neary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I wonder if the Premier will loan me the hat and glasses??

  • Looking at
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    George Street hiogh crime????, maybe a CCTV in the evidence room at Fort Townsend............where's the 14K?

  • Marie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Good decision. Then again, Premier Williams has put a possible solution into a
    would-be criminal's head; wear a baseball hat and a pair of dark glasses.
    He might as well have also added
    and no identifiable clothing !
    (I know it was a joke when he said it.)

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I think you are missing the point here folks. The cameras are to provide a witness when a really violent crime is commited. When 4 guys gang up on one person and beat them senseless, the police never have credible witnesses because any lawyer worth a pinch would bring up the, you were drunk and dont know what you saw defense, to any potential witnesses. If there is videotape of a beating (for example), it gives the law a witness where one would not otherwise be available. It is fine to say let the drunks beat each other all they want, but when it is your child, sibling, or other family member you would all be singing a different tune.

  • Manuel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    They do walk the streets. Only to talk to the girls and not to protect people.
    As for George Street why do all us taxpayers have to pay to protect a few drunks who want to go to a bar and get drunk and try to be a big shot.
    Anyone wanting to go to George Street isnt going their to read a bible. They are going their to drink. If your going to become intoxicated and get into a fight then so be it I hope someone puts you in the hospital and you will learn George Street isnt a place to have fun. Its a place for bar owners to make a fortune off you.
    As for the cops, they dont need cameras. They just need to open their eyes and start doing their jobs. How many illegal vehicles are out there and how many crimes are being commited. All because the cops we have arent doing their jobs.
    Soon as they get the badge its a power thing and they are all the same. They dont care about protecting us, its just a cheque and the hell with us. Their record speaks for themselves

  • JD
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    They've had these in lots of Canadian cities for years. A couple years ago they were a huge help in a riot outside a concert in Vancouver, they arrested like 10 people because of these cameras. I don't think there are cops assigned to George St only, are they? Most of these comments make it sound like they expect to see cops on George St at all times. There are lots of other places to drink in St.John's and area and they don't have cops camped out there all night.

  • Anon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Bob Johnston, the incoming chief of the RNC, said he'd like to see closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras on George Street to fight crime.

    I knew this man would be a disaster.

    Wake up people it starts with cameras on George Street and it ends with marshall law. They can already search your home without a warrent if your a registered gun owner. They can't search you on suspicion but they can arrest you on suspicion and then they can search you once youve been arrested.

    Cameras on George Street wont stop crime they'll just give NTV more pictures for the public to look out for and see if they recognise this guy who broke into this place because there are no cops around just cameras.

    Say no to CCTV and the RNC. Bust the punks that rape steal and murder and nothing else. Leave us alone. We don't need to be baby sat by surveilance cameras just so some company can hace a nice contract installing and maintaining these machines of futility.

  • Billy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Cameras are impartial - they'll catch the out-of -line police officers as well as the drunks. Of course, if they get them on George's Street, expect them everywhere - in the interests of non-discrimination, naturally.

  • Mr
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    It's amazing that it's taken this long to come up with this.

  • mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    I worked the Doors on GS for years. If the Cops would get out of there cars and be proactive in stoping the assaults then this wouldnt be near an issue. Most just watch fights and then get tough when the 2 or more drunk thugs have beaten each other or often an innocent bystander to a pulp. To busy hitting on the girls to do there job! Tehn again most of them are afraid to do there job anyway.

  • Leah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Civil Liberties, Your comment is a joke, right ?

  • joey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    a lot of crime happens downtown. theft, assault, vandalism. everyone is against more surveillance until they become a victim and the creep gets off free.

  • richard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Imagine this if you will. everyone keeps talking about the Police not doing their jobs, well now the cameras will catch them not doing their jobs, maybe that's why Danny likes the idea, then everyone can rest easy after half the police force get fired and the thugs and criminals take over, what a great society we now live in.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Half of the clubs on George already have CCTV cameras anyway so putting them on the street's not such a bad idea.

  • rrr
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    heres an idea, why don't the cops do their job and patrol the area... If they showed theirs presents, with uniformed officers there wouldn't be half as much violence on the road. But it is easier to install cameras then deal with the cops union when you tell them they actually have to do their job and get off their bums... I wonder how many grievances would be files if they were told they had to actually work ?

  • Geoge
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    A Suggestion:


    Bob Johnston, the incoming chief of the RNC, should also install camera's at the RNC Headquarters where stolen goods, illegal drugs and stolen money is stored.

    Thanks
    gw

  • Heather
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    If you aren't going to do anything wrong why does it bother you that CCTV is there?

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    hahahaha, ohhhh Danny, you are a delight. Please Marry my daughter.

  • G
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I have to agree with George W Street. Cops won't get out of their cruisers because simply, they are afraid. Police officer today are not like they were years ago. Now you need a university education and size does not matter. No 140 lb cop, girl or guy will walk George Street at 2:00 am.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Wow. George Street is like 100 ft long. How about the Officers just do their job and GET OUT OF THE CAR/OFF THE HORSE and stop drinking their coffees? How is a camera going to help? So they can sit in the warm station with Tim's down the hill and take 20 minutes to drive down when they see a problem?

    How much more lazy can you get. Not to mention an excuse just to put up cameras to 'observe' us. Before we know it, they'll have them all around town.

    Big Brother or what?

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Hopefully this will just be the start of installing cameras in the downtown and other high crime areas in the city.

  • #258962
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Cameras help only after-the-fact investigations and prosecution. They do NOTHING to help people from attack or crimes against the person as it happens. I fear you will see less police bother walk George Street knowing they can go back to headquarters and just review the tape the next morning. It will be more dangerous down there than ever without actual police around. More and more the response we get from the RNC these days is not in real time. If your car or shed has been broken into the RNC doesn't bother come to have a look to see if they can glean some important clues, they just give you a case number to give to your insurance company. That's what we can look forward to on George Street if they install cameras and stop walking the beat. I'm sure they are looking at this as a way to save a significant amount of money. Well, if they do this, they had better make them laser-proof or there'll be no image during that crime.

  • Civil
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Danny wants to keep an eye on you. It's for your own safety. Trust him.

  • Civil
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Yes, Leah. The 'Trust him' part was a joke.

  • jack bauer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    cameras on george ... how about a couple billion to set up NFLD CTU too ...

    stop watching reruns of 24 and get out of your cruisers.

  • Jean...
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I agree 100% with Heather..if you're not doing anything wrong, why would it bother you? As for police not walking the street....guess you'd have to hire many more....they can't be everywhere...If there is a call in the west end...they would have to abandon George St. and get back to their cars to go to another call...time could be crucial...I do agree a bit with the 110lb officers faciing a bar fight....they would need protection..there is someting to be said for physical abilities in such a profession.

  • Dennis
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Why can't police wear cameras as part of their uniforms? Technology has made it cheap and practical to do so.
    Then when someone is arrested there would be a record to use in court. Everything that was said by all partys couldn't be disputed. Officers wouldn't fall victem to false allegations of abuse or rights not being read.
    Then to, maybe the members of the RNC who don't act like they should, would think twice. Unnecessary force when know one is looking might stop. Money might not go missing as much as it dose. Even speaking in a respectful manner regardless of age or class might rise to an exceptable level.
    I'm guessing the new chief, the union and probebly all members of the RNC might not want the spotlight shining to brightly on themselves.

  • jack bauer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    cameras on george ... how about a couple billion to set up NFLD CTU too ...

    stop watching reruns of 24 and get out of your cruisers.

  • George W
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    This is crazy! Theres a little differance in Toronto & Calgary. There big cities! George St is what, a few hunderd feet long, it would help if these police officer´s put down their Tim´s coffee and got out of their cars and walked the street, instead of driving up the street all night ,stopping only to chat up the girls.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    This is a slippery slope folks.

  • Ms.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    This is a stupid idea I think...any crime that does happen down there is obvious enough if you look at it .. 95% of what the cameras will be picking up is drunken antics of people who frequent the street and stupid fights taht break out when people drink too much...

  • Corey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Is crime really that bad right now on George St.? I don't frequent it as much as I used to, but I don't really remember ever seeing much on the go except for a very scattered fight. And seriously, are camera's going to deter a couple of drunk guys (or girls) from fighting? I highly doubt it. Now, if there were some real crimes going on like rape and abductions, then by all means. But, if its just going to be used to catch a few drunken fights, or someone stumbling out of a bar with drink still in-hand, then its a waste of time and money.

    I worry a little about this opening up a whole new can of worms. Is this the start of it? Will this usher in a new era of UK-like CCTV on every street corner? I, for one, would not be happy about that. I know the old saying, if you don't do anything wrong, you don't have to worry, but, I don't like easily giving up my freedoms.

  • Pierre Neary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I wonder if the Premier will loan me the hat and glasses??

  • Looking at
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    George Street hiogh crime????, maybe a CCTV in the evidence room at Fort Townsend............where's the 14K?

  • Marie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Good decision. Then again, Premier Williams has put a possible solution into a
    would-be criminal's head; wear a baseball hat and a pair of dark glasses.
    He might as well have also added
    and no identifiable clothing !
    (I know it was a joke when he said it.)

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    I think you are missing the point here folks. The cameras are to provide a witness when a really violent crime is commited. When 4 guys gang up on one person and beat them senseless, the police never have credible witnesses because any lawyer worth a pinch would bring up the, you were drunk and dont know what you saw defense, to any potential witnesses. If there is videotape of a beating (for example), it gives the law a witness where one would not otherwise be available. It is fine to say let the drunks beat each other all they want, but when it is your child, sibling, or other family member you would all be singing a different tune.

  • Manuel
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    They do walk the streets. Only to talk to the girls and not to protect people.
    As for George Street why do all us taxpayers have to pay to protect a few drunks who want to go to a bar and get drunk and try to be a big shot.
    Anyone wanting to go to George Street isnt going their to read a bible. They are going their to drink. If your going to become intoxicated and get into a fight then so be it I hope someone puts you in the hospital and you will learn George Street isnt a place to have fun. Its a place for bar owners to make a fortune off you.
    As for the cops, they dont need cameras. They just need to open their eyes and start doing their jobs. How many illegal vehicles are out there and how many crimes are being commited. All because the cops we have arent doing their jobs.
    Soon as they get the badge its a power thing and they are all the same. They dont care about protecting us, its just a cheque and the hell with us. Their record speaks for themselves