Surveillance cameras more common than you think

They're around and used maybe more than you realize. Cameras capturing our every move inside government buildings, restaurants, even stores.

The Boston Marathon bombing suspects were first identified through a department store's surveillance video. In a WKYT Reality Check, we take a look at just how common it is to get caught on tape.

"You can pretty much expect to be on camera anywhere you go. If you do anything in public, you can bet you got recorded somewhere," explains Andrew Duff with Kentucky Alarm Services.

Duff installs surveillance systems often, and says the market for cameras continues to grow.

"We've seen a major increase. The camera systems that we're selling have been getting more and more popular. The smaller and smaller businesses are starting to buy them. It used to be, you just found them at major enterprise companies, now you're starting to see them everywhere. Small clothing stores are getting them, restaurants are getting them."

It was a department store that caught images of the Boston Marathon suspects on their surveillance video cameras. The images Lord & Taylor got were the ones Boston police distributed nation-wide.

"Private businesses clearly have probably the majority of them in the US," Dr. Tyler Wall says, "already then with that you start to see kinda a blend of public and private space."

Eastern Kentucky University's Dr. Tyler Wall teaches in the School of Justice Studies. He says there is a push to get more cameras in public spaces.

"With issues like in Boston and really post 9/11 you are starting to see a lot of police departments, local governments start to want the technology as well," notes Dr. Wall, "from ID cards, debit cards at ATMs, there's a constant tracking of bodies."

"The most common purpose of cameras is going to be to avoid liability," says Duff, "it's usually after an event has happened that people will go back and review it so they shouldn't be worried that people are sitting there spying on them or anything like that."

Lexington's Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason says the city does operate limited surveillance systems downtown. Traffic cameras on many major intersections in town are operated by the city's traffic engineering department. The traffic cameras are not set up to record video.


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