APEC 2011 Hawaii Approaches, City to Install New Surveillance Systems

As the APEC 2011 Hawaii approaches The City of Honolulu is going to install 34 more surveillance cameras around the island to help dissuade criminals from operating during the conference when many important figures from around the pacific will visit Hawaii. Greg Lefcourt, Assistant Chief of Police and APEC Coordinator, said that if people know there’s an area that’s being monitored they are less likely to break the law. This is probably true, but to what extent does this encroach on the citizens of Oahu’s rights? The installations are estimated to cost about$1.5 million, $175,000 of which will come as a gift from the Hawaii Tourism Authority as well as another $305,000 from the Department of Homeland Security. That leaves approximately $1,200,000 dollars to be paid by other city agencies. Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii, thinks that taxpayer money would be better used in putting more officers on the street, or increasing city lighting, or bolstering community policing. She said the ACLU is hoping that the cameras use will be “temporary, narrowly tailored and comply with the Constitution.” City officials have said that after the APEC conference has finished the cameras, except for six, will be turned over to the Department of Transportation to be used to monitor traffic. The upcoming APEC conference is an excellent opportunity for local businesses to showcase Hawaii’s beauty and Aloha. With dignitaries, powerful business people, and media coverage these conferences have the possibility of bringing lots of attention and new visitors to Hawaii. It is my hopes that we can sacrifice a few things for this upcoming series of meetings. Giving up some of the things that we enjoy on a daily basis could turn into the creation of more jobs, and a boost in the tourism industry. This could translate into benefits for Hawaiians across the board.

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