D.C.

Citizens Association of Georgetown installs cameras to deter crimes

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A security crackdown has created controversy in Georgetown.

A local citizen's group is in the process of adding private surveillance cameras, and that has some of their neighbors outraged.

Georgetown's stylish shopping district and cobblestone lined streets offer a desirable quality of life, but the area's not crime free.

"Thefts from autos, burglaries, people getting mugged on the street," explains Diane Colasanto, who works with the Citizens Association of Georgetown.

Colasanto says the private group is embarking on a surveillance camera program traditionally used by governments to deter crime.

"Then maybe by the end of the year we'll have as many of 10 cameras up and running," Colasanto adds.

One camera was recently installed; two more are coming soon. The cameras will be placed on private property directed toward well-traveled public corridors.

"They work very well," says William Martin, Jr. And as the owner of Martin's Tavern, he should know. He's had cameras filming outside and inside his establishment for a few years, and they've helped police close a number of cases.

But there are privacy concerns.

Maryland resident David Engles says, "I don't feel like walking around knowing that somebody is watching me, observing me."

Colasanto insist the video can only be accessed after a crime has been committed and a police report filed.

The Citizens Association of Georgetown knows the camera, which are supported entirely by private donations, won't eliminate crime. But they hope they will serve as a tool to help lower such incidents.

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