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"I support the use of video cameras as an important tool that law enforcement and residents can rely upon to enhance public safety... our own experience leaves no doubt that, but for the presence of video cameras, many perpetrators of both property crimes and violent crimes would not be apprehended and prosecuted. Crimes would not be solved and criminals would remain free to victimize our community."

J. Richard Gray, Mayor   
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"We deal with cases all the time where we either have no witness or have witnesses who are reluctant to come forward. Now, the camera can be the witness; and we find that if witnesses know [an incident] is on camera, their reluctance decreases. They know they're not going to be the only one to go out on a limb to identify a suspect. I have seen in court where someone who seems to be telling the absolute truth, but the cameras tell a different story. It's difficult to change what's on that tape."

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman   
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"The video safety cameras in Downtown Lancaster, operated by the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition, have proven to be an important addition to our city’s crime prevention efforts – and the Lancaster Police Foundation supports their continued use. On numerous occasions, the Lancaster City Bureau of Police have utilized the extra “eyes on the street” for rapid mobilization, incident prevention, and as important evidence in the successful conviction of criminals."

Lancaster Police Foundation   
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“Every day, hundreds of children benefit from the services provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster. It’s good to know that Lancaster’s video safety cameras are there to help provide an additional layer of security for our kids as they walk between our two clubhouses and their homes each day.”

Karen Schloer, Chief Executive Officer Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster   
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"They have supplemented the police, and I can see a difference in crime. Some of the corners where cameras were installed are now clean."

Nelson Polite, Sr. Three Term Member of Lancaster City Council   
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"... They allow cash-strapped cities like Lancaster to boost their commitment to public safety with minimum expense. The cameras are costly, but they don't get overtime, don't require health insurance. Taxpayers aren't on the hook for Community Safety Coalition salaries.
... And while the cameras don't eliminate crime, they make it easier for police to identify and catch lawbreakers. At least one murder, and several additional felonies, have been solved with the help of the cameras.

Bottom line: The cameras are relatively cheap. And they work."

Gil Smart, Associate Editor, Sunday News   
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"While the cameras provide an extra set of eyes, no technology can replace solid police work. But in a coordinated effort with police, cameras are a worthwhile addition to the city's crime-fighting arsenal. I think they're successful."

Lancaster Police Chief Keith Sadler   
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"Recently we had an incident at our center when one of our seniors wandered off. We contacted city police and within a half hour they found her. Why so fast? It was because of the cameras that people are complaining about being an invasion of their privacy. Thank God for the cameras and the officer that brought her back safe."

Joan Gentry Lancaster   
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My wife and I think the camera idea in the city is fantastic. We laugh when we see articles in the paper about protests to the cameras. We imagine most of those people must be coming from outside the city or live in a safer section of town. Last week there was police chase down the ally beside our house. The police were chasing a man who had just shot at someone. After they past by our property a number of the neighbors were standing outside and I went out to join them. One of the men said something to the effect of "you can't get away with anything now, they have cameras everywhere." So the cameras at least have people thinking, if not changing behavior altogether. Thanks for whoever is responsible for initiating the camera system and thanks to those who are now managing it.

Rodney Hostetter Lancaster   
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Jill Olivia Pinkston welcomes another set of eyes watching over her 10-year-old daughter as she walks home from elementary school in the southeast part of Lancaster City.

And, Pinkston doesn't mind if those eyes are in a darkened room, blocks away, watching a video monitor. "I think it's an excellent idea, and I feel that I will be more secure," Pinkston said of closed-circuit surveillance cameras due to be installed in her Howard Avenue neighborhood later this month.

From the Lancaster New Era   
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"As someone educated in security -- I retired from the U.S. Army as a counterintelligence special agent -- I support the use of cameras in Lancaster. ... It is not financially possible to have a police force large enough to be ever present in every area of the city. What areas do you ignore? None, if you have sufficient camera coverage."

J. Herbert Zug Lancaster Township   
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"I like it," said Vilma Caraballo, 51, who has asked that a camera be placed on her block. "I want them all over the city."

Philadelphia Inquirer,   
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"Cameras will keep crime down and we need them around. ... I would like to see them in every part of the city. ... They are not going into your homes and taking your pictures. So let them go everywhere. It may be a safer city."

Gloria Dickel Lancaster   
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One of my favorite old folk singers used to say that a liberal is 10 degrees to the left of center in good times, 10 degrees to the right of center when it affects him personally.
Perhaps this explains why I actually support the presence of more security cameras and street lights in public places in the city of Lancaster.
After a completely crime-free 20 years living in the west end of the city, I have been a crime victim four times in the last two years. Three of the crimes were perpetrated against a vehicle parked right in front of my home, and once I was mugged and robbed by three young thugs less than two blocks from where I live. The drunk driver who rear-ended (and totaled) our van was apprehended and arrested at the scene, but none of the other criminals were caught.
In his letter of July 15, Bill Adams says that if he got shot he would take no solace from the fact that the crime was caught on video; surveillance provides "no help for the victim."
I beg to differ. If I knew that the crime was caught on video and there was a better likelihood that the perpetrator would be arrested, I would be much more satisfied than if I thought; as I currently do & that the overwhelming odds are that the criminal would get away with it. I find it hard to believe that the presence of security cameras in public places does not deter crime by increasing the chances that the criminals will be caught, which would increase the risk of criminal behavior.
No one in his right mind advocates that such surveillance intrude into private places, but public places are public, and therefore the argument that surveillance represents an intrusion into our privacy is unreasonable.
One more point that has not been discussed much concerns the way that cameras have served to temper the behavior of overzealous police activity. Since the famous Rodney King case, we have seen many instances in which police officers have been disciplined because their actions have been recorded. The presence of cameras would also encourage the police to be on their best behavior.
So, if a community-minded, independent organization wants to erect and monitor security cameras, I thank them for it. If Franklin & Marshall College wants to put up better lights and cameras around Buchanan Park, I would be very happy about it. I would sleep more soundly and maybe stop looking over my shoulder when I take an evening walk.

Michael Billig Lancaster   
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Recently, there have been a number of editorials and letters in the Lancaster newspaper concerning the use of video cameras by the Safety Coalition. I would like to point up a few facts which relate to this subject.
There is no expectation of privacy on a public street. If someone wants to take your picture, that is not against the law.
The police department is not encouraged to be proactive. The police force is undermanned by 17 officers, and is not able to use tools, like the Street Operations Group (yellow shirts).
We have so limited ourselves in the ability to stop crime before it happens that the cameras become necessary to alert the officers to crime in progress and sometimes to actually deter a crime from happening.
We have a good chief and a good police department. I would like to see them have all the advantages they need to get the job done.
People question who is manning the cameras, but don't seem to be appalled by the amount of crime.
In fact, most of the opposition comes from people who live outside the city. Don't tell the people who live in the city what we need or don't need. When your car is hit by acid five times, your home broken into, or you are robbed on a city street, you may begin to see the camera's advantage.
My personal experience with the Safety Coalition is that they do a good job and are very professional. Give the police department the tools it needs.

Andy Hartman Lancaster   

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