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Cameras to be installed at A.R. Johnson

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A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School will have an extra set of eyes patrolling the campus next month.

The Richmond County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $21,000 bid to install surveillance cameras on campus. The cameras will be used to “deter repeated criminal activity at this school,” according to a memo from Controller Gene Spires.

According to School Safety and Security Chief Patrick Clayton, there were four criminal incidents at the school in 2011-12: one vehicle theft, one break-in, one walk-on and one “miscellaneous,” along with two car repossessions.

Although Spires’ memo said the impetus for the cameras is to deter crime, Clayton said four incidents at a school is not an alarming number.

“I’m not saying there’s not a safety issue, but that’s a low number over a year’s period of time,” he said.

James Johnson, whose son is an A.R. Johnson senior, asked the board Tuesday to install a perimeter fence around the parking lot because of break-ins and trespassing at the school. Johnson’s son’s Honda Civic was broken into in April, causing $400 in damage to the steering wheel and wiring.

He said the openness of the parking lot makes the school an easy target for thefts and break-ins. He was also concerned about residents walking on campus while female students are at after-school sports.

“I want to be proactive,” Johnson said. “The cameras will show what happened but it won’t stop it from happening. Kids don’t care about a camera. ‘Here I am,’ that’s them.”

Director of Facilities and Maintenance Benton Starks said cameras are a better option than the fence. The cameras can zoom in on an individual walking through the parking lot, and officials have live access to the video.

He said a fence could create a bottleneck in the case of an emergency when the school has to be evacuated.

Deputy Superintendent Tim Spivey said that A.R. Johnson does not have more property crimes than any other high school but that the cameras will be a way to calm fears.

“This was the best way to but the situation down,” he said.

IN OTHER NEWS

The Board of Education tabled a discussion about changes to the district’s hiring practices. The board will revisit the issue after members review recommendations made by a committee formed to address the issue.

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specsta
5712
Points
specsta 09/19/12 - 02:04 am
1
5

Always in the Name of "Safety"

"Clayton said four incidents at a school is not an alarming number"

It must be nice to have $21,000 laying around to install cameras that are not needed. It seems to me that this money could be better spent on school needs that don't involve spying on students.

Our society is conditioning these young adults to accept surveillance as a normal way of life. It isn't. There is a little something called the Fourth Amendment and just because you are a student in school doesn't mean you check your Constitutional rights at the door.

I wonder if some of these panicked parents ever read George Orwell's "1984"? Citizens just keep thinking that having a video camera watching over us is a good thing - but who will watch the watchers?

JRC2024
6955
Points
JRC2024 09/19/12 - 08:01 am
2
2

specsta, I agree with you

specsta, I agree with you 100%. Catch the thieves and lock them up. Set out some bait cars and do away with some of the criminals.

seenitB4
72524
Points
seenitB4 09/19/12 - 09:11 am
2
0

cameras

More at schools....on Marta....around homes....downtown...airport....wouldn't it be nice if we didn't need them......but hey folks..the sad fact is we do....
Some residents in downtown Atlanta have had home breakins over-over -over.....they had to put up cameras....guess what THEY WORKED!......caught the rascals crashing in the door.....put that theeeng on the news & bingo...

tgentry
205
Points
tgentry 09/19/12 - 09:30 am
2
0

Camera's

As the story states, “The cameras will show what happened but it won’t stop it from happening." This is true. seenitB4 I agree. If you have the means to capture the incident, you have the means to capture who did it. I have camera's at my home, we have camera's at my job, we have camera's at drive thrus at fast food joints. Camera's are not the enemy. We need to have downtown loaded with camera's like the European nations do.

Just remember, when you go out in public, you are no longer being private. If the Government was making it a law to install camera's in your house then you would have a good argument. This would fall along the lines of Obama care.

Just to put it out there. What is the 4th amendment?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Little Lamb
40104
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/12 - 09:32 am
2
1

Public Schools

From the story:

James Johnson . . . was also concerned about residents walking on campus while female students are at after-school sports.

Hey, they don't call these public schools for no reason. They are paid for by the taxpayer. They are open to the public. There is no reason that a member of the public should not be allowed to walk on campus as long as they do not interfere with school operation nor commit a crime.

I myself have used public school tracks for exercise after school hours. I have taken my children to schools after hours for them to use the playground equipment. I taught my children and neighborhood children the basics of baseball at a public school ball field after hours.

People need to learn to co-exist in this world. If there are girls on the soccer field after school, that doesn't mean that a neighbor can't shoot a few hoops on the outdoor basketball court at the same time. Don't make schools off-limits to the public.

seenitB4
72524
Points
seenitB4 09/19/12 - 09:56 am
2
0

cameras

We have even thought of installing cameras in the neighborhood at the entrance.....we had some car breakins & thought this would curb some of that.......keep in mind when someone breaks into your car he also has access to your door garage opener......we have cameras at the pool & club house already.......sad that we need it in todays world......but the truth is we do.

tgentry
205
Points
tgentry 09/19/12 - 10:54 am
1
0

Camera's

Yes camera's can work for you. As a example, 08/11/2011 @ 9:37 pm. In my neighborhood we had a bunch of cars pull up in front of my house. People got out of their cars and walked to a neighbors house to start a fight with the kids who lived there. I go out and call the sheriff. 10 minutes later a deputy arrives then runs everyone off.

Same day at 11:30 pm I hear a ruckus and fight taking place outside. Once again the people came back to start a fight. This time a person got hit by one of the vehicles. When the Sheriff department came out, I told them I have it on video. They took the video and continued the investigation. I later got a subpoena to appear in court. Court kept getting delayed. I never went to the criminal hearing.

2 weeks ago I get a subpoena to a Civil lawsuit. I'm like what is this. Well it is the same case that involved the fighting parties. Today I have to go and give my deposition on the case. I find it funny that over a year later, this is still going on in the court system. My deposition is for the person who came out and started this whole mess. It will be funny when I produce the video again for the trouble makers lawyer.

This being said, if you ever catch something illegal on camera, do not ever get rid of it if you turn it over to the law.

grouse
1580
Points
grouse 09/19/12 - 11:05 am
2
1

Cameras

Unpublished

Is not possessive...

tgentry
205
Points
tgentry 09/19/12 - 11:11 am
1
0

lol

you are right grouse. cameras...

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