Columbia Downtown Safety Camera Measure (April 2010)

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A Columbia Downtown Safety Camera Measure was on the April 6, 2010 ballot in the city of Columbia in Boone County.

This measure was approved

  • YES 11,093 (58.88%)Approveda
  • NO 7,748 (41.12%)[1]

Where the cameras will be placed is up to the police chief and no note was made on how they will be paid for.[2]

This measure asked voters if they wanted to approve the installation and implementation of safety cameras in the downtown area of Columbia.[3]

There had been much debate on both sides, if the cameras are effective in combating crime or if they are a waste of tax money. Most crimes, one side argued, are not committed in front of these cameras so they are not useful in bringing people to justice, but others argue that they are invaluable when a crime is committed and the scene is caught on tape. Studies on both sides are inconclusive, unsure if they were effective or if other factors played a part.[4]

Opponents to the measure, Keep Columbia Free held a protest Friday March 26, standing on street corners with signs to help get their view across to those passing by. Though it is late in the campaign, members of the small group want to ensure that people hear the other side of the vote issue.[5] Another argument for cameras is the crime rate reduction, but statistics of the city show that crime has not increased or decreased over the past few years so fighting for fewer crimes is not a strong argument for supporters.[6]

Those against this measure noted that it would be preferred to put cameras in higher crime areas or that private businesses put in their own cameras. But their main argument is that it is not proven that cameras are effective in preventing crime.[7] Civil liberties are an issue, and camera installation would likely only deter crimes, not solve. If approved the cameras would have to be in conspicuous places in public areas and the tapes would only be kept 60 days.[8]