Privacy Commissioner on Lower Crime Rates and the Need for Surveillance

July 23, 2010

Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work feels recent Statistics Canada figures on lower crime rates across Canada, including Alberta, should be a signal to the public about the need for increased surveillance measures.

Work says decreasing crime rates have been a trend across North America in recent years, yet we continue to regard surveillance as a means of curbing crime. “People should be looking very closely at these statistics and should take comfort in the fact that crime rates are going down. If we are frightened by the thought of crime, we are more willing to give up privacy and other civil liberties if we think it will make us safer.”

Work hopes that decreasing crime rates will prompt politicians and the public to question the need for increased surveillance in the name of crime prevention. Work adds, “Surveillance on our streets does not prevent crime, but simply disperses it away from the glare of the lens”.