City of Dayton to install security cameras downtown

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton police were testing Thursday the first of 27 surveillance cameras to be installed in the city.

We wanted to know about privacy concerns surrounding the cameras.

“As far as open public space there aren’t privacy concerns as far as constitutional protections there,” says Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl.

The cameras will be mostly in the downtown area. The first one is at the corner of Third and Main.

Police Chief Richard Biehl says they’re meant as a crime deterrent.

“There’s a clear crime prevention mission here, but if you fail in that mission the ability to solve crime,” Biehl says.

The cameras are being paid for by the University of Dayton Research Institute. Police say they’ll run 24 hours a day but the live feeds won’t be watched constantly.

“For instance a large crowd event someone will likely be monitoring that,” Biehl says. “If we have days and times we’ve identified crime patterns we’ll have officers monitoring that.”

But some are concerned about what the cameras can see. Joel Pruce, who was part of a group against Dayton’s aerial surveillance plan, says, “In our society we have a reasonable expectation of freedom from government involvement in and surveillance of our private activities.”

But Biehl says because it’s public space, there’s no expectation of privacy.

“Anything any citizen can see in public we can see too,” Biehl says.

One person we spoke with says they don’t mind being watched if it makes the city safer.

“There’s a lot that goes down that doesn’t need to be going down,” says Julia Wagner.

The city expects to have all the cameras installed by the end of the summer.

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