Private Cameras Go Up In Georgetown To Deter Crime

6:06 PM, Sep 2, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Georgetown is a popular destination and home to the rich and famous, but it also attracts crime.

Residents want to put up more private cameras, but some wonder: Is it too much "Big Brother?"

The Citizens Association of Georgetown is testing this out. The group will be putting up roughly 10 of their own cameras on private homes and businesses to deter crime.

Crimes such as aggravated assault and thefts are up from 2010 to 2011. But the association has wanted to put up cameras in the popular historic district for years.

Diane Colasanto is on a crusade to put up cameras in Georgetown. She's a citizens association board member and on the public safety committee.

"Crime is a fact of life here in Georgetown. I was burglarized personally twice when I lived around the corner. My Neighbor was burglarized two weeks ago. There's lots of street crime, cars are broken into on a daily basis.

Some residents welcome having more eyes in the neighborhood. But others say more cameras encroach on their privacy.

"More cameras in general creep me out," Travis Allen said. "Not knowing who's watching, that feels a little weird."

Joe Filosa manages Martin's Tavern on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. They've had cameras outside their restaurant for five years.

"We've caught a few crimes, somebody's car got stolen, a female scratched a guy's, Paolo's planters got knocked down."

Certain guidelines will be in place when the new cameras go up. The association says video will be reviewed only if there is a crime.

"We don't want it to be a case where anyone can look at to spy on their neighbors or fight with their neighbors about something. There is no presumption of privacy in public space but we're trying to be sensitive," Colasanto said.

9News Now reached out to Metropolitan Police. Here's their response: "There are a number of private businesses that have surveillance cameras in the city, and frequently images from those cameras are used to assist MPD with closing cases. We believe that a surveillance camera adds a level of security to a business or privately owned home, and we would encourage people to get them when feasible."

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