Fact-Checking the Daily News

a letter to the editor

In his "Ideas & Opinions" column for 19 May 2005, Richard Schwartz displays a remarkable lack of precision. He says that, "The police grew so vexed with things at the Greenwich Village park that, some years ago, they installed security cameras in hopes of deterring bad guys during the day and at night." As a matter of fact, these "security" cameras were installed seven years ago. A total waste of taxpayer money, they only continue to be operated because NYU subsidizes them to the tune of $200,000 a year.

Schwartz says that, "These days a group called the Surveillance Camera Players distributes maps detailing where each camera is planted. Meanwhile, the drug trade thrives." As a matter of fact, we have been distributing maps of camera locations in the park for five years, and we do not so so, as Schwartz clearly implies, to assist the "drug trade." We do so in part because these high-powered cameras engage in unconstitutional visual inspections of anyone who comes near or enters the park, and because the neither the Parks Department nor the NYPD -- despite their intention to "curb" the drug trade -- haven't seen fit, in all these years, to place signs in the park indicating that cameras are in operation.

-- Surveillance Camera Players, 19 May 2005

Contact the New York Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail SCP@notbored.org

By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998