LANCASTER—There are a lot of questions about Lancaster's new city surveillance system, and there are plenty of concerns about the nonprofit Lancaster Community Safety Coalition's oversight of the cameras.
"There's no accountability, no oversight, no legislation, no rules that apply to that particular type of organization," says Bill Adams of the Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Adams' group opposes the expansion of surveillance project. They held a town hall meeting on Sunday night to share their concerns about the camera system.
During the presentation, the LCPJ leaders told the crowd surveillance cameras are an ineffective way to prevent crime.
"We don't trust people," says Charles Lane of Lancaster Township. Lane opposes the surveillance system. "We've been taught by our government to be afraid," he said.
But there were many at the meeting who say they have a good reason to be worried about their safety.
One woman recounted a story about a stabbing on her corner. Another talked about vandalism to the cars on her block.
The cameras were first installed in 2004, but now they're getting some national attention. A writer for the Los Angeles Times recently called Lancaster the "most-watched small city" in America.
"I wish I could put them (cameras) everywhere," says Greg Celia, a retired member of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office who attended Sunday night's meeting.
Celia says the LCPJ's claims against the cameras are simply "paranoia."
"When you're on a city street, you have no expectation of privacy," argues Cheryl Hartman. "If you want to follow me around, you can follow me around. I may not like it, but there's nothing I can do about it."
Both sides of the debate seem to agree that people can improve the security of their neighborhoods simply by talking to the people you see on your block.