Friday, November 1, 2013

More than a scuffle

The ongoing saga of LPD's proposal to light up two CCTV cameras in the public right of way near 14th and O Street was back in the news this week. The police would like cameras here to both deter illegal behavior and to aid in the investigation of crimes that occur within their viewshed on the public streets and sidewalks. This is a logical spot, because of the frequency of such crimes as assault in the area--primarily during the late night and early morning hours when the bar scene is booming.

One of the opponents to these cameras has asserted that many of these assaults were mere scuffles between college students. Well, in a sense he's right: most of the assaults are misdemeanors, although nowhere close to half of these actually involve college students, and I would hardly call these mere scuffles. There are a lot of trips to the hospital involved, many injuries, and I don't think the shoving contests and chest-bumping confrontations are typically reported to the police.

Among the 103 assaults this year that have resulted in an official police report and occurred within a block and a half of the camera location are 25 felony assaults. These one-liners provide a glimpse of what some of the "scuffles" were like:

B3-015567  UNK PUNCHED V IN HEAD / LACERATION / REQUIRED MEDICAL GLUE

B3-013859  UNKNOWN PR PUNCHED V CAUSING INJ REQUIRING STITCHES

B3-025969  ASSAULTED BY UNK DOWNTOWN  /  MRI SHOWED BRAIN BLEED

B3-028530  UNKN MALES STRUCK V IN FACE WITH FISTS / BROKEN NOSE

B3-036926  KNOWN PR HAD KNIFE DURING BAR FIGHT

B3-047357  HIT V CAUSING UNCONSCIOUSNESS AND FRACTURED NOSE

B3-037339 KNOWN PR STRUCK VIC IN FACE / FELL TO GROUND / STAPLES REQUIRED

B3-040203  UNK PR PULLED OUT GUN IN STORE

B3-052590  UNK MALE KICKED V IN HEAD / GASH TO HEAD REQUIRING 5 STITCHES

B3-074883  KNOWN CUT V ON RIGHT FOREARM WITH A KNIFE

B3-083255  PUNCHED TO FACE/HEAD / BROKEN CHEEK BONE  / OTH INJ

B3-090864  V UNCONSCIOUS AFTER UNK STRUCK HIM IN FACE


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those statistics seem to be all the argument needed in favor of those cameras.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps over-serving violations should (with a change to state law) be charged not against the server, but against the bar/restaurant owner. That Duffy's owner would have so many tickets, he could wallpaper his house with them.

Steve said...

I have a hard time believing there are any legal impediments to using the cameras for the purpose for which they were purchased. There are many cities in the U.S. already using them, and of course millions of privately owned surveillance cameras.

Most of those concerned about big brother watching are either the people who are afraid they'll be nabbed for some wrongdoing, or those who feel they might lose money if the cameras tend to keep people away from the area. In regard to the former, who cares. As for the latter, I think the sense of security the cameras may provide would at least offset those paranoids put off by them.

In the end, deterring and solving crimes is more important than protecting some individual's right to privacy, of which there is none anyway in a public space such as this.

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest the feeds be streamed live on the internet for all to see, so that all of Lincoln's taxpayers and/or voters could see the zoo (aka bar break at 14th & O).

Anonymous said...

The cameras downtown are the least of our worries. I wonder how long it will be until the police start install these up and down the streets, listening in on your conversations while your window is open on a warm summer night.

http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/street-lights-that-spy-on-you/

Anonymous said...

I don't think duffy's is the problem, it's those dance clubs with the dress codes...they are the ones that need to step up what they are doing what does the official report say about race in these incidents?

Unknown said...

I have nothing to fear from surveilance.

Unknown said...

Ihave nothing to fear from video surveilance.

Unknown said...

It was only a matter of time before someone threw the race card.

Mary Ann Shiech said...

How many of these incidents are alcohol related?? Consider policing the bars that over serve.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The cameras downtown are the least of our worries. I wonder how long it will be until the police start install these up and down the streets, listening in on your conversations while your window is open on a warm summer night.

UM EXCUSE ME..The NSA is doing this and has done so for ten years.

Anonymous said...

as an unelected official perhaps you should stop the public shaming of a bar owner concerned about his rights as a citizen the argument of if you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have to worry also applies to if you are not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't have someone looking over your shoulder in the days of edward snowden and the massive nsa operations against the citizens of this country perhaps you could find another way to police this area because obviously what you are doing isn't working

Anonymous said...

Holy Run on Sentence, Batman.

Also, could you point out where overserving is mentioned in the Bill of Rights? Or the other parts of the constitution?

Thanks for the chuckle about Snowden. Someone concerned about totalitarian governments running to china, then russia. Good one!

Tom Casady said...

Mary Ann,

All of them are alcohol related. Enforcing liquor laws and licensee regulations is a priority for us in this area, much to the consternation of some of the bar owners.

4:05,

"Public shaming"? Give me a break. All I have done in this post is provide several examples of assaults in this vicinity that are far more serious than a mere scuffle. As I said, the opponent is correct: many are minor. I am also correct: many are not. All I'd like to do is deter some of this, and aid in the investigation of those that are undeterred.

Part of me sympathizes with the plight of bar owners: they are selling a legal product in a competitive environment; it's not as easy as you might think to notice that someone is getting pretty blitzed--especially when you're busy, the place is packed, and friends are buying your tipsy customer's drinks. These are small business with tight profit margins, trying to make a go of it.

But on the other hand, this is the business model they chose, and a higher level of risk and responsibility attaches. If you sell auto supplies, you generally don't have to deal with customers who cannot or will not control their behavior. When you decide to run a bar that caters to young drinkers in an environment that attracts a certain percentage of the immature or uninhibited, you'll have to deal with such matters.

Caleb Cassel said...

When such incidents occur in that area, it seems there are usually large crowds in the vicinity. Wouldn't there be enough eye-witnesses already to aid in investigation? I have spent time in London, and the prevalence of government operated surveillance cameras in that city is unnerving. If I have learned anything about government, it is that it always grows. Once it gets in to something, it never gets out. This is a slippery slope that seems innocuous at first, but will open the door eventually to more and more of these cameras in our city, resulting in greater loss of personal privacy and freedom. It would not pose a threat at first, but it would create a gateway for potential abuse in the future. While we may not have much control over what goes on at the federal level these days, we should at least be vigilant at the local level where we can make a difference and be on guard for encroachments like this.

Tom Casady said...

Caleb,

A lot of the witnesses are impaired, some are allied with one or the other of the combatants, and there is nothing like an accurate, neutral witness when the facts or in dispute, or the description is vague. Personally, I'm more interested in the potential deterrent effect: something that has been noteworthy in many CCTV deployments in other places.

I understand your concern. A single camera at a busy spot in Lincoln is hardly comparable to London, Chicago, Atlanta, or Dallas though--where cities operate large CCTV deployments. The pervasiveness of CCTV has little to do with government: it is happening with private systems anyway--which we often use in investigations after-the-fact. If there were private CCTV cameras in this area, as there are in many other places in Lincoln, we would be unlikely to suggest this installation. A week does not go by that a video clip or frame shot from a CCTV system isn't used to solve a crime in Lincoln: cameras in retail stores and parking lots, banks and ATMs, busses, hotels, motels, sports venues, campuses, apartment buildings and commercial establishments.

Anonymous said...

I chuckled when those two yahoos on the board said they'd rather see more "boots on the ground" aka more cops instead of cameras? Really? A cop costs about $100,000 per year, all costs added up. Do they want to pay that to have a LPD officer parked and watching at 14th & O every night?

I doubt it. It would take a cop and a half to cover every night, so that's $150K/year, just to cover the dive bars at that intersection.

If the bar owners want security personnel, they should contract with one of the local firms to provide those personnel. Put up or shut up.

Then again, maybe they'd like LPD to do extremely frequent walk-throughs to check alcohol reg compliance checks at their bar. They over-serve like crazy there, always have, and always will.

Steve said...

Caleb:

Just curious what privacy you lose with cameras about when, as you said, there are large crowds and plenty of witnesses. Also wondering what freedom you lose by having cameras around, unless it is the freedom to do something illegal without getting caught.

Tobias Davis said...

However, continuing to think out loud about the topic, I think there's a difference between privately owned security cameras and those operated by the government. For example, the camera operated by the private individual is understood to be active only on that individuals property, and the footage is only used in a court of law if there is damage to that property--any incidents still need to be brought to a court and tried, or accusations need to be made and the police force operates as a (hopefully) unbiased party. But when the government operates a security camera, that operation extends to any property that has been deemed public, so it becomes very pervasive. And then, any incidents wouldn't be brought before an unbiased party--anything noted on review to appear illegal would result in arrest. There seems to be less accountability here, and more potential for abuse. Some things I've always wondered about government security cameras: How is video retrieved? Can anyone in the police force view the video? Will someone be watching it the whole time and act based on what they see, or will they only review the video footage after the incident occurs? Who holds the video watchers accountable?

Clean said...

Does LPD do walk-throughs of bars? Back In The Day, I thought that was the most effective part of walking a beat, both for training of the officer and for effective (minor) crime reduction. A bar tender/owner naturally pays more attention to a customer's sobriety when s/he knows a badge is going to be there soon.

MRDRIVEDRUNK said...
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MRDRIVEDRUNK said...

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fry-Show/497372943648483?ref=tn_tnmn
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All good pictures Case Number: B3-103304
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Location: 4100 BLOCK OF BELLVILLE DR
Description: ENT UNL VEHICLE/RMVD FROM CENTER CONSOLE CIGARETTES,WALLET,DEBIT CARD
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