Privacy Debate Goes on Over Use of Video Surveillance Cameras by Police in N.C. County

There are hundreds of cameras across New Hanover County and Wilmington. Some privacy advocates are concerned over how long police can store video.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. — Hundreds of surveillance cameras flank New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington. Thanks to the cameras, an armed robber was arrested days after the crime, as high-resolution images emerged from the video assistance.

But the county is not immune to the discussion of balancing security and privacy.

“It’s concerning for residents when they start to figure or learn how extensive the video surveillance is,” said Sarah Preston, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Charlotte.

The Wilmington Star-News reports hundreds of security cameras monitor homes, businesses, roads and other public places in the county, including 111 that film downtown parking garages. In addition, 13 street intersections are flanked by surveillance cameras, eight survey Wilmington’s riverfront and now Wilmington Police Department (WPD) officers will have body cameras.

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WPD spokeswoman Linda Rawley said that while it’s rare for officers to monitor video streams in real time, that could change soon.

Preston isn’t against the surveillance technology, but hopes policies can be put in place to limit the time video recordings can be stored.

Read up on the entire report at the link above.

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