Vancouver city council votes down motion to install CCTV city-wide
'This is a slippery slope that undermines the protection of individual privacy,' councilor says
A motion to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) in Vancouver to prevent violent crime has been shot down by city council in an 8-1 vote.
Coun. Melissa De Genova, who introduced the motion, was the only person to vote in favour of surveillance cameras in the city.
De Genova made an emotional plea to her fellow councillors, recalling the murders of Dianna Mah-Jones and Richard Jones in their South Vancouver home.
"It was video surveillance that caught the suspect at the hardware store purchasing the tools used to torture and kill Diana and Richard in their Marpole home," she said through tears.
But her colleagues were not convinced cameras would actually reduce crime and worried about the implications for personal privacy.
"I don't like the idea of living in a surveilled society," Coun. Jean Swanson said.
"I don't like the idea of CCTV cameras targeting criminalized people, which I know they do."
She said she prefers community-led responses to crime, a sentiment echoed by Coun. Christine Boyle.
"I'm quite convinced this is a slippery slope that undermines the protection of individual privacy," Coun. Adriane Carr said.
Several councillors cited the lack of evidence that surveillance reduces violent crime as one of the main reasons they could not support the motion.
Several members of the public dialled in to have their voices heard, including an out-of-town advocate: Bianca Wylie, a Toronto tech expert with a particular interest in technology in the public sector.
🔦eyes on Vancouver City Council today as they consider + vote on this motion: "CCTV Cameras for the Purpose of Public Safety and Deterring and Solving Violent Crime" <a href="https://t.co/mTrBaIEQ7d">https://t.co/mTrBaIEQ7d</a>—@biancawylie
"We are in a fragile moment for democracy," she said.
She noted that increasing surveillance will not protect democracy.
Earlier this week, digital activism advocate Daniella Barreto told CBC that CCTV would have an impact on democracy, too.
"The more that citizens are aware of surveillance, the greater this impact on not wanting to participate in public life and democracy," she said.
With files from The Early Edition