Fourth York City surveillance public forum set for June 3

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Montez Parker, a consultant hired by Better York, speaks at a public forum about a proposal to install a citywide surveillance network on Tuesday, May 4.

The fourth public forum to discuss a proposed citywide surveillance network in York is scheduled for next month, during which residents can expect to see how the city's gun violence stacks up to other cities.

The forum is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 3 at Voni Grimes Gym, located at  125 E. College Ave. in York City. Montez Parker, the lead consultant of a feasibility study on the proposal, said he will discuss a draft of a separate gun violence study that compares York's statistics to other small cities.

The gun violence study was conducted by York College's Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy and predates the surveillance proposal, he said.

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It was commissioned by Better York, a local nonprofit organization that also hired Parker to gauge the public's interest in a widespread surveillance network.

Eric Menzer, chairperson of Better York, declined to offer any details about the study, such as how much it cost and when it began.

"We will be including that information as part of the study Montez is working on," Menzer wrote in an email.

Parker and city officials have said gun violence is the biggest reason for exploring a widespread camera system to monitor the streets of York.

The system would be based on work done by the Lancaster Safety Coalition, a nonprofit organization that operates 170 cameras throughout Lancaster City.

Proponents of the system argue it would deter crime and be a valuable tool to help police investigate crimes through video evidence.

City residents, however, have offered mixed responses to the proposal.

Many residents have cited privacy concerns, while others have argued increased surveillance would target the city's minority community.

Most recently, some residents said the online survey included in the study lacked a sufficient sample pool and therefore did not reflect the opinions of the entire community. The survey can be found here.

In response, Parker announced last week that the study would be extended through mid-July rather than mid-June.

The feasibility study does not guarantee that any surveillance system will be implemented in York. Parker and city officials have said that decision will be based on public feedback.

Those interested in attending the public forum are encouraged to register at YorkSafeNet@gmail.com.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.