Posted: 5:39 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
By Thomas Gnau
Red light cameras: Cities around the nation have installed them over the last decade. Dayton started installing them in 2004. Trotwood, West Carrollton and Springfield have all installed them as well. Unless they notice the flash of lights these devices use when they snap photos, drivers typically don’t know they’ve been identified as a violator until they receive the citation – including pictures of your car – in the mail.
Speeding cameras: Encouraged by the success of the red light cameras, cities have added cameras that track and issue tickets for speeding. Dayton began in 2011 and cities, like Hamilton, have portable units. Dayton’s red light cameras, tickets are $85, with the city collecting $55 and the rest going to a private company that runs the cameras.
Roadway cameras in Englewood: Starting in 2006, Englewood in Montgomery County added 20 cameras throughout the city, using an Ohio Department of Transportation grant to improve the city’s traffic flow. But while those cameras are not being used for speed or red-light enforcement, use has evolved toward law enforcement.
Security cameras: Businesses have them, including parking lots. So do a number of housing complexes. Some people contract to have surveillance cameras at their own homes. If a crime happens near a business, police generally ask if they can review surveillance footage.
“Smart” electric meters: These meters can monitor homeowners’ activity by energy usage, and that information is being used in criminal investigations. A particularly high electric bill could indicate an interior marijuana growing facility. But the U.S. Department of Energy warned in a 2010 report that the meters could also reveal personal details about consumers’ lives, such as when they are at home or asleep, whether they have alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic or medical equipment.
Online surveillance: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security monitors public online forums, blogs, message boards and websites, including Facebook and Twitter, “to collect information used in providing situational awareness,” according to documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News.