Border Surveillance Webcams Fail

Saturday, January 31, 2009
Texas Border Webcam #441
It seemed like a good idea at the time: install 200 live webcams along Texas’ border with Mexico in order to stop drug smuggling and illegal immigration. Citizens, watching at home, could report any suspicious activity. Texas Governor Rick Perry awarded $2 million in federal grant money to the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition to install and monitor the cameras, one every six miles over a 1,200-mile area. In six months, the Coalition managed to install only thirteen cameras at a cost of $625,000. Its web site went public November 19, 2008. In their first six months of operation (including before they went public) the cameras led to only six suspected immigration violations, three arrests and one drug seizure. Proponents of the system ask for more time to prove its effectiveness, while detractors suggest that the money would be better spent trying to stop gunrunners who supply Mexican drug cartels with U.S.-made weapons.


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