Boston bombings frame 'big brother' debate in Florida

Surveillance cameras a growing part of life

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Surveillance cameras and cell phones broke the Boston terror case wide open.

Since 9/11, and now once again, many people are debating personal rights versus public safety. Are there too  many security cameras in our lives? Or has time made us more accepting of being watched around the clock?

In West Palm Beach, police have installed dozens of them. Inside the Palm Beach Regional Fusion Center, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and other agencies keep a close watch on those who break the law.

"There's just so much going on and it's a safety issue and I think it can help," said Scott Roberts, Boston area resident visiting Palm Beach County.

He is on board with 'big brother' looking over his shoulder. He was at Fenway Park watching the ball game when the bombings occurred. "I think we're still reeling from it. Again, such a shock that it happened."

When the smoked cleared after the marathon bombings, it was the surveillance images that helped investigators pinpoint their suspects. Security experts say this kind of surveillance criticized until it leads to a big break in a big case.

"Virtually anywhere you are going to be under video surveillance," said Brad Robinson, a former CIA Agent who now operates a private security firm in West Palm Beach called The Millennium Group.

"Anytime you have more security of any kind, whether it's video security or any variety of security, there's going to be a certain amount of personal liberties that are going to have to be sacrificed," he said.

Roberts and his family say it is no surprise that the suspects were first captured on camera before authorities moved in and made a capture of their own. "I think in this case it practically cracked the case," he said.
Since 9/11, 30 million surveillance cameras have been purchased for American homes and businesses. That does not include the number of cameras law enforcement agencies are using to keep tabs in our communities.

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