High crime rates can be tough to conquer with a limited police presence. It can also be problematic to put police on surveillance, when they may have to attend to a call elsewhere. That’s why police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, have acquired an armored vehicle, called the Peacemaker, to act as temporary surveillance that they can simply part on a street and use cameras to record crimes. The police then watch the footage and nab the criminals that they identify. It has significantly reduced crime in areas that it has been stationed. Regarding the Constitutionality of the surveillance, Travis Mandell, the spokesman for the FLPD and the detective in charge of the operation, had this to say:
The vehicles are clearly marked and we do not peer into homes. We are not here to violate people’s constitutional rights. All we are doing is trying to curb some of the crime trends through deterring criminals and making them think twice before they commit a crime.
The program, called “Operation Auto Shield”, has been active since September 2011. It is often requested by community members in high crime areas.
Does the temporary nature of having the Peacemaker placed in any given neighborhood make it ineffective in the long term? Will criminals just find other places to conduct their criminal activity?