When Tavorn Hunter was shot and killed during a robbery attempt Sunday afternoon, the murder was caught on tape by private surveillance cameras. The Middle East Market turned over the video to police, who have released parts of it in hopes people will come forward with information that will lead to an arrest.
The fact that a murder was captured on video has renewed interest in the debate over whether Syracuse Police should install surveillance cameras at nine intersections on the city's west side. Police say the cameras would be an invaluable crime fighting tool, but civil libertarians says they could also become an invasion of privacy.
Outside the makeshift memorial set up by friends and relatives of Tavorn Hunter, people have mixed feelings about police surveillance cameras. Susan Hector supports the idea. "I feel it's a very good idea because it will make me feel safe it will slow down the criminal activity because these young people don't want to be on camera, they don't want to be seen." Hector told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.
But Roger Hall doesn't like the idea, "I don't think they should be having cameras on you like that. We fought in the war to get rid of stuff like that. This is not a communist country. This is a free country."
Captain Richard Trudell says Syracuse Police selected the nine intersections for surveillance cameras because of a frightening increase in gun violence. They say the intersections are locations where gunfire is becoming a way of life... and death. "That area has seen a 100 percent increase in shootings from this time last year." Trudell pointed out.
The Syracuse Common Council has put the purchase and installation of the surveillance cameras on hold. Captain Trudell says the police department will not use the cameras to invade anyone's privacy. "We've taken into account best practices from the federal government in regards to privacy." he says. "They're going up on public streets. I think they should be looked at as a safety and crime prevention factor."
Trudell says the cameras can not only detect and deter crime, the video can be a valuable tool for prosecutors, which they hope to prove if and when Tavorn Hunter's killer is put on trial.