11/01/2013 / GERMANY
A group of Germans are taking the law into their own hands. Activists from CAM OVER are destroying as many security cameras as possible ahead of the European Police Congress in Berlin, which starts on February 19. But for our Observer, who is passionately anti-CCTV, vandalism is counter-productiv
CAM OVER activists want to see German streets free of surveillance cameras. They believe CCTV cameras help the police discriminate against certain groups of people they stereotype as criminals. Through its blog, the group is encouraging others to follow suit and take part in their so-called ‘game’, which ends the day the Congress starts.
A failed bomb attack at Bonn train station last December has thrust the surveillance debate into the spotlight in Germany. The police do not have recordings showing how a bag containing a homemade bomb ended up on the platform. Even though surveillance cameras were installed at the station, the images filmed were not recorded on file.
Following the would-be blast in Bonn, Germany’s Interior Minister has called for additional cameras and more comprehensive surveillance in public places across the country.
A recent report published by the Interior Ministry claims crime reduced by 19.5% between 2010-2011 in areas installed with surveillance cameras in the state of Hesse.
The coordinator of the European Police Congress, Martin Jung, says “Germans are increasingly accepting that security cameras prevent crime and help catch criminals”. He adds, “in a public place like a train station, who cares if there are security cameras?” But some Germans do care.