Montreal police to set up 9 new cameras in public spaces

·2 min read
Montreal police are adding nine new cameras to the existing 24 on their territory. (iStock - image credit)
Montreal police are adding nine new cameras to the existing 24 on their territory. (iStock - image credit)

Community groups are pushing back against the installation of new Montreal police cameras in public spaces in the coming weeks.

The Montreal police service (SPVM) announced that nine police cameras will be installed in public spaces in neighbourhoods in Montréal-Nord, Rivière-des-Prairies, Saint-Michel and in the Sud-Ouest borough in an effort to tackle gun violence.

According to a release from the SPVM, the police force already has 24 cameras set up on its territory.

But Catherine Descoteaux, the co-ordinator of the Ligue des droits et libertés, says she hasn't seen the SPVM provide any evidence of how public camera surveillance has helped fight crime.

"These are areas that are highly populated with Black communities so there's a really high risk of people being really profiled for their race, or their social activities or their political activities," Descoteaux said.

Pierreson Vaval, head of the non-profit Équipe RDP, says police are missing the point.

He says cameras won't discourage kids from committing crime when they feel they have nothing to lose.

"The community doesn't need to be tracked, they need support, they need resources," he said.

"We need to come up with ways to bring them closer to their community and give meaning to their life so they can believe in it, too. Cameras have nothing to do with helping kids find a sense of belonging in their community."

Insp. David Shane says there are strict rules for how the cameras are used and only a few specially trained employees are authorized to see the footage.

He says they're particularly useful when victims of violence don't co-operate with police.

"Sometimes you can identify a licence plate, you can identify a face, identify a suspect, see the weapon, see the way it was used," he said. "It is really very important in a case."

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