We Say No to Police Surveillance in South Hadley

We Say No to Police Surveillance in South Hadley

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Jodi Miller started this petition to Police Chief Jennifer Gundersen and

We, the residents of South Hadley, call upon Police Chief Jennifer Gundersen and the South Hadley Police Department to put an end to its recently-enacted “Surveillance Camera Registry and Monitoring” program (known as “SCRAM”).  

SCRAM sets up a police surveillance system throughout South Hadley, in which the Police Department asks private residents to register their private surveillance cameras for the police to use video footage to purportedly solve crimes. 

We are extremely disappointed that, after months of nationwide and local protests regarding over policing and police misconduct in our communities, the South Hadley Police Department would adopt SCRAM. Systems of surveillance such as SCRAM have been linked to institutional racism, and such citizen-driven surveillance can reinforce biases. Security-oriented apps and devices that allow people to alert neighbors to “suspicious” activity can turn prejudices into police action.

Programs like SCRAM also raise serious privacy and civil liberties concerns by giving the police unchecked access to video footage at unknown times in the future.  Under SCRAM, the police can access video footage of private citizens if they should happen to unknowingly cross paths with a camera registered with the program. Once folks sign up, the police can call on them to hand over footage about anyone, including their own children, family members and neighbors.  Civil liberties experts have warned against signing up for programs like SCRAM: “The information could be a lot more revealing about your own life, about lives of people in your family or people in your immediate community,” explains Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program, ACLU of Massachusetts (https://www.gazettenet.com/South-Hadley-police-begin-voluntary-surveillance-camera-registry-ACLU-discusses-privacy-concerns-35701343).

In a town like South Hadley with a relatively low crime rate, why expand the reach of the police department into the private security systems and lives of the town’s residents?  The SCRAM program posits itself as a tool to create a “safer community,” but there is little support for the claim that these types of surveillance programs actually help solve crime.  (A 2009 report from London found that every 1,000 cameras throughout the city helped to solve one crime - a poor rate of return.  For more info: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8219022.stm.)  To the contrary, surveillance technology is wrought with racial biases, inaccuracy, and general ineffectiveness. Programs like SCRAM lead to hyper-surveilled communities that are not inclusive and that send unwelcoming messages to people of color.  

We reject the notion that policing, surveilling and controlling people is the way to build a safer community. We create safety by building mutual trust among community members, not by creating a program in which some community members feel as if they are wielding power and “importance” of policing over so-called “criminals'' or “trouble makers.”  Rather than investing time and resources into the community policing one another and reactionary measures in response to “crime,” what if we instead invested in preventive and proactive measures to ensure that all members of our community are getting the care and resources that they need? Lets invest in ourselves by investing in the well-being of others. 

We therefore say no to police surveillance in South Hadley and demand that Police Chief Jennifer Gundersen and the South Hadley Police Department immediately dismantle the SCRAM program and destroy all footage collected to date under the program. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!