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New Hampshire

March 6, 2014

Salem selectmen support video surveillance

Some concerned about privacy

SALEM — In the wake of privacy concerns, a divided Board of Selectmen has decided to back a plan to install high-resolution surveillance cameras at the commuter lot off Interstate 93.

Selectmen agreed, 3-2, to support legislation aimed at cracking down on crime at eight park-and-ride lots around the state. Salem is the last of seven communities, including Londonderry, to endorse the proposal.

For some, the possibility of invading individuals’ privacy outweighs the need to film everyone who visits the lot, Selectman Stephen Campbell said.

“There are real privacy concerns,” Campbell told fellow selectmen Monday. “Without hearing the other side, I have concerns of my own.”

Selectman Patrick Hargreaves said he was concerned about the video recordings ending up in the wrong hands, especially if someone involved in a court case gained access to them through the state’s Right-to-Know Law.

He also said he was concerned about how long the video would be kept. Selectman James Keller asked if police would have access to the recordings.

Hargreaves voted to support the plan along with Chairman Everett McBride Jr. and Michael Lyons. Campbell and Keller voted in opposition.

The lot, like most other park-and-rides in the state, already has surveillance cameras.

But the cameras are set at low resolution, as required by state law, and do not capture perfect images of a person’s face or license plate.

The resolution would be increased to record much clearer images if the legislation, House Bill 1250, is passed, according to William Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Candace Bouchard, D-Concord, was proposed at the request of transit operators, Boynton said. A representative for one bus company, Mark Sanborn of Concord Coach Lines, asked selectmen for their support.

“These are safe and secure facilities right now,” he said. “But this is another step we can take to make that our top priority.”

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