by Alan McBride
MIAMI, FLA. -- The Miami Beach area, especially the region known as South Beach, is famous for the tanned and trim tourists who frequent the area, as well as the locals who enjoy the cosmopolitan metropolis by the sea.
By the end of the day Thursday, it could be known for something else: surveillance cameras.
The Miami Beach Budget Advisory Committee said that elected officials should consider putting surveillance cameras in the city's entertainment district.
The recommendation comes after a city contractor had already begun the work of installing red-light cameras at high-traffic intersections.
Eventually, the city could have 30 of these cameras in place. They would have one significant difference from the usual red-light cameras. These would also provide streaming video.
Local police say the cameras would help them make the most of their manpower, and the addition of these cameras would make people feel safer.
The mayor of Miami Beach, Matti Bower, said she was not convinced of the safety and security issue. She noted that people on vacation would have a hard time feeling relaxed with "cameras watching everything they do."
She said she would consider the issue, should it get approval from the city finance committee; but she was still ambivalent.
The cameras are meant to catch red-light runners, according to their supporters, who also claim they could reduce crime.
Federal statistics released this week show that red-light cameras do reduce the number of "T-Boning" accidents from people running red lights.
The feds, however, noted there was a trade-off. Those same cameras helped increase the number of rear-end collisions at intersections, as people were more likely to slam on the brakes in order to avoid running a red light.