Is the price of safety constant surveillance? The public has been forced to consider this question for centuries but with current technology, we have had to consider the question with increased diligence and concern. Our purchases are tracked, our whereabouts are often monitored through our cell phones and nearly invisible video cameras record many of our daily activities. While many people know that the federal government and massive corporations are the primary sources for much of this surveillance, local law enforcement agencies—including Fresno’s own—are also taking advantage of the technological developments. But are they going too far? Will the Constitution be assaulted with over-zealous efforts to maintain safety?

Fresno’s Real Time Crime Center is the hub of the city’s intelligence gathering: microphones throughout the city seek the sound of gunfire; digital maps show the location of every officer; a wall of monitors displays images from the hundreds of cameras positioned throughout Fresno; investigators sit at desks and monitor the information as it comes in. As you read this blog, you may also be appearing on one of their monitors. Does this make you feel safer? Privacy advocates and proponents of civil liberties will continue to argue that even if the surveillance does lead to arrests or does make some people feel safer, the slippery slope to erosion of liberty is not worth the cost.