Police and politicians across the United States are pointing to the example of surveillance video that was used to help identify the Boston Marathon bombing suspects as a reason to get more electronic eyes on their streets.
From Los Angeles to Philadelphia, efforts include trying to gain police access to cameras used to monitor traffic, expanding surveillance networks in some major cities and enabling officers to get regular access to security footage at businesses.
Some in law enforcement, however, acknowledge that their plans may face an age-old obstacle: Americans’ traditional reluctance to give the government more law enforcement powers out of fear that they will live in a society where there is little privacy.
“Look, we don’t want an occupied state. We want to be able to walk the good balance between freedom and security,” said Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who heads the department’s counterterrorism and special operations bureau.
“If this helps prevent, deter, but also detect and create clues to who did (a crime), I guess the question is can the American public tolerate that type of security,” he said...