Tommy Wells to offer bill allowing expanded police surveillance in D.C.

There are growing concerns that a rule meant to help protect privacy, could be slowing crime fighting efforts.

It all centers around surveillance cameras, and just who is allowed to watch them.

Many people, including business owners, would like to know the police or their cameras are looking out for them.
D.C. police believe an Eastern Market Metro camera captured visuals of a shooting suspect and accomplices making their getaway.

And that's helpful for crime solving. But D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells argues that police could do more if they could monitor closed-circuit TV live.

"It's a way that if you have a neighborhood being terrorized, instead of deploying eight officers, you have one split screen laptop in eight alleys at once and use one squad car.

On Tuesday, Wells will propose a bill to allow police officers to use cameras that way. But Wells predicts robust opposition from privacy advocates.

"You could put five cams on every block and that would solve more crimes, but you have to balance that against destruction of privacy that would entail," says Arthur Spitzer of the ACLU.

Some citizens tell ABC7 they have the same concern, saying that don't want to be watched by police - or anyone else - everywhere they go.