Sunday, December 25, 2016
The Red Tape Times (article 13)
The Police State Forces Proprietors to buy CCTV Surveillance Systems
The municipal government of Madison passed an ordinance forcing all businesses with a store of at least 2,000 square feet to install CCTV Surveillance Systems to 'make the city safer,' as if Madison is not safe enough. Madison, Mississippi has lower crime rates than 90% of the rest of Mississippi and 81% of other cities nationwide. Their crime rates are 64% lower than the national average with most incidents consisting of a couple hundred cases of petty theft and about a dozen burglaries in the past year. Even if their intentions are good, expedient policies like this one tend to hurt the same people it was intended to help in the long run. Officials have a habit of thinking only of the desirable effects of their policies and ignoring the precedent it sets for future intrusions of private property or the ways in which it could be abused to the detriment of the people it was intended to help by opportunistic officers. Apart from being a several thousand dollar headache for small-scale proprietors or even unaffordable for others, it gives the 'bad apples' the potential to stalk people for personal reasons unrelated to apprehending crime as they sometimes do with confidential databases and sets a precedent for giving the municipal government more control over how proprietors may operate and may subject them to warrantless searches of their residences if they run their business from home. However little crime this policy may deter, which there is not much to deter in the first place, is exceeded by the pain it will inflict on local proprietors, especially those barley able or unable to afford a CCTV surveillance system. The misery inflicted by an overbearing police state, which only has the tendency to grow over time, can only be avoided when governments are restrained to acting within the limits of the law of equal liberty; that every person should have the freedom to operate her business as she pleases provided she does not inhibit others from transacting with any other business or competing against her is apparent.