CCTV camera bylaws

City staff have been given the green light to work with Hamilton Police to see about changing CCTV camera bylaws, allowing home owners and businesses to record on more than just their property.The current bylaw allows people to position security cameras to point only on their property. This change would permit residential, commercial and private properties to film sidewalks and the roads, something many in this city have been doing already and have helped solve crimes.Whether it’s an attempted robbery or catching a recycling worker throw blue bins directly into the truck. City Councillors say a lot of crime occurs on the streets and surveillance footage is helping police catch the people responsible.Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, the Chair of the Police Board, says a bylaw change is long overdue, “These are new technologies available to help solve crime and they have worked recently.”In the murder case of Tim Bosma, CCTV cameras were used to pick up the movement of his killers.In Waterdown the suspected gunman who killed Angelo Musitano was caught on camera.Councillors say if security cameras weren’t pointed towards Chesapeake Drive in Waterdown, police would never have spotted a vehicle tied to another murder case in Vaughn.This case and others are why Councillor Sam Merulla calls the current bylaw nonsensical, “Here are these residents that have contributed to such a successful end result but yet would be subject to bylaw infractions.”A first offence under the current rules could cost you up to $20, 000 but catching someone is nearly impossible without a warrant.Ontario’s Former Privacy Commissioner is strongly opposing the suggested change and raises a number of questions. “Who’s collecting this data? How is it being used?”After a scandal in Yellowknife where one of the employees were caught using the camera to watch women, track and follow them, Ann Cuvoukian says this is the exact thing politicians should want to avoid.If a new bylaw is created councillors say it will ensure property owners can’t point cameras into someone’s backyard or into another person’s window. City staff will be looking at the change and presenting council with their findings at a later date that is yet to be determined.

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