In Newark, Citizens Asked to Watch Cameras, Join Surveillance

Community policing and "see something, say something" are reaching new levels in cities like Newark, where anyone with an Internet connection can see real-time video feeds and report suspicious activity, as

Newark, like many cities, is dotting the landscape with surveillance cameras to monitor street crime and combat terrorism. The differences there, though, is Newark allows the public to watch online to support police and report suspicious activity through its Citizen Virtual Patrol, where 1,600 users have already signed in to watch since it began a month ago.

"This is part of building a partnership," Newark public safety director Anthony F. Ambrose told the Times.

With the benefits of security, there is a potential downside of abuse, however. Criminals could be watching, too, including burglars or stalkers monitoring potential targets.

"It's free security," Newark salon owner Latoya Jackson told the Times. "But it's not good for me as a civilian person."

Each camera does provide a warning sign "This Area Is Under Video Surveillance," but civil liberties advocates worry about more than just "Big Brother" watching them.

"It's not just Big Brother," ACLU of New Jersey Executive Director Amol Sinha told the Times. "There's an infinite number of siblings here."

Thus far, in cities like Chicago, which has installed 30,000 closed-circuit cameras, the added surveillance has not stopped crime as much as help solve crimes that were committed.