Big brother watching
From 1984 to Person of Interest, the fear of an all-knowing, all-seeing government is part of the modern experience. Big Brother doesn't live everywhere — yet. But he's apparently quite at home in Austin, which was ranked the No. 7 most watched city in America by Men's Health.
There are more eyes in other Texas cities. Houston came in second in the nation, below only Washington D.C. in its level of civic surveillance. Dallas was sixth. Men's Health measured the numbers of cameras in the top 100 metropolitan areas, gathering data on traffic cameras, red light cameras, police surveillance cameras as well as the rates of authorized government wiretaps, because Uncle Sam isn't just watching, he's listening, too.
Everyone agrees it's easier to prosecute a person caught on tape committing crime, but opinions about whether the cameras actually serve as a deterrent run the gamut depending on whether you mind the idea of having eyes on you all the time.
Strangely, there doesn't seem to be much correlation between legitimate fear of terrorism and high surveillance. Aside from D.C. and Houston, the top 10 camera-friendly cities includes such hotbeds of crime as Denver, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. New York sits at No. 32, just behind Salt Lake City.
And more may be coming to Austin. Austin Police and the Downtown Austin Alliance endorse "crime prevention cameras" in high traffic areas. There are now 29 "HALO" cameras in the downtown area. HALO stands for High Activity Location Observation. Two new ones were recently put in on Fourth street..
Quite a bit of research has been done regarding whether surveillance cameras and "red light" cameras are effective. Everyone agrees it's easier to prosecute a person caught on tape committing crime, but opinions about whether the cameras actually serve as a deterrent run the gamut depending on whether you mind the idea of having eyes on you all the time.
Somebody's watching, your paranoia may be real.