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The Camden Model - 'Defund the Police' is all about Surveillance

Posted By: AndiV
Date: Saturday, 16-Jan-2021 13:30:32
www.rumormill.news/163594

I'm not down with the anti-Capitalist tone of this article, however, it does make an important point about why "Defund the Police" is being pushed so much by the radical left.
---------------------------------------------------------

"In response to radical demands to defund and disband the police, liberal reformers are pushing the “Camden model.” Don’t fall for it. Camden relies on mass surveillance to pacify its population — all to benefit business interests.

In 2015, President Obama used Camden, New Jersey as a prop to announce the findings of the President’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing, a package of procedural reforms to address the post-Ferguson crisis of police legitimacy. In 2012, Camden suffered the highest crime rate in the country and a murder rate 560 times higher than the national average. In 2013, the city disbanded its police force, launched the new Camden County Police Department, and embraced community policing. Violent crime dropped dramatically. As of 2018, it’s down 38 percent from 2013.

Scratch the surface of this feel-good story of crime reduction and community policing, and you’ll find a “surveillance city.” Camden is under constant monitoring: cameras, ShotSpotter gunshot detectors, automated license plate readers, a mobile observation tower. The much-praised police-citizen interactions that make up the work of “community policing” also double as moments of intelligence collection. It’s not just one-off interactions either. Police also develop relationships with neighborhood sentinels — “mothers with children, postal delivery workers, people who are engaged in local groups” — to gather intelligence. They organize residents to monitor their neighbors, report activity to police, and otherwise bolster police programs.

The data streams from these surveillance systems and the “human intelligence” from the “field contact cards” that officers fill out for every civilian encounter all flow back to Camden’s very own “fusion center,” the Real Time Tactical Operations Intelligence Center. There, analysts watch the city in real time and take direct control of a sequence of cameras in “virtual patrols.” Data-crunching algorithms target police deployments and direct analysts to focus on particular cameras.

In Camden, this “counterinsurgency surveillance” was inseparable from the imposition of austerity and the scandalous plunder that passed for urban renewal. Together, they formed a comprehensive pacification project, carried out to benefit business interests.

For exactly this reason, Camden has become the liberal establishment’s answer to the radical demands erupting from the country’s tear gas–choked streets. Ever since the Minneapolis City Council announced they’re disbanding the police department and shifting to community-based strategies, Camden is all over the media. Leading organizations on the ground in Minneapolis like Black Visions, Reclaim the Block, and MPD150 have explicitly rejected the Camden model — and for good reason. The current Camden fetish is an attempt to avoid any real reckoning with the failures of police and capital. It’s an attempt to recalibrate state violence in the guise of progressive reform. Camden is not a model. It’s an obstacle to real change."

"The Camden model may well be the most dangerous idea circulating in liberal elite circles at the moment. Camden did not “abolish” or even “reimagine” policing. Camden reformed policing, which is to say it gave its cops more technology, training, and hires in the aftermath of a crisis. Minneapolis will likely do something similar, absent sustained popular pressure in support of a real alternative."

continues -

https://jacobinmag.com/2020/07/camden-new-jersey-police-reform-surveillance/





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