Here's a new twist on the panopticon: Authorities in southern Maryland are installing cameras to monitor the cameras monitoring auto traffic. Seriously, one of them is already installed.
Local station WTOP reports that a rash of traffic cameras were destroyed so the Prince George's County Police Department decided to install a fleet of cameras to watch the traffic cameras. By the sounds of it they really do have quite the camera vandalism problem:
On April 6, someone pulled a gun out and shot a camera on the 11400 block of Duley Station Road near U.S. 301 in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Two weeks later, a speed camera was flipped over at 500 Harry S. Truman Drive, near Prince George's Community College. Police believe several people were involved because of the weight of the camera itself. Then in May, someone walked up to a camera on Brightseat Road near FedEx Field, cut off one of the four legs, and left.
We'd like to think those were isolated incidents, but apparently others are resorting to arson:
Someone burned down a speed camera on Race Track Road near Bowie State College on July 3
Sheesh. Apparently residents of this DC suburb really can't stand traffic tickets. As a result, Big Brother will pay them a visit in the form of a dozen new cameras installed to watch the pre-existing traffic cameras already monitoring the road. "It costs us $30,000 to $100,000 to replace a camera. That's a significant loss in the program," said Prince George's County Police Maj. Robert Liberati, justifying the new cameras. "Plus it also takes a camera off the street that operates and slows people down. So there's a loss of safety for the community." Somewhere a local ACLU member is soliciting Banksy for a new urban graffiti project.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.