Ottawa’s mayor is floating the idea of installing surveillance cameras in the ByWard Market in the wake of another deadly shooting.
“These shootings are getting more and more brazen,” Jim Watson told reporters on Wednesday. “Obviously it’s the most pressing issue that we have to face.”
Ryan Kabuya-Ntumba, 21, was gunned down around 3 a.m. on Canada Day near George and Dalhousie streets. It was the third homicide in the Market this year.
The shooting happened despite officers being nearby, part of an increased police presence in the area.
Watson said the Market is the area with the largest police presence in the entire city, but suggested more could be done.
“I think the other thing we have to start looking at is what can we do in in terms of the city with respect for instance to cameras, CCTV cameras, in different parts of the area.”
Watson spoke to interim police chief Steve Bell by phone Wednesday afternoon.
There have previously been calls for closed-circuit TV cameras in higher-crime areas in the city. Watson said he thinks they’re effective.
“They act as a deterrent. If someone knows they’re going to be on television, they may not be as brazen as they have been,” he said. “And secondly, it does give police evidence; a second set of eyes in the neighbourhood.”
Ottawa Councillor Tim Tierney supports the use of cameras. He says the use of them on private properties in the Jasmine Crescent area have made a huge difference.
“When they [police] needed that information if there was ever any incidents they’d be able to get that high definition footage and help speed up the process on making arrests or taking care of situations,” Tierney said.
Experts debate whether CCTV cameras effectively deter crime. Academic studies show mixed results, as do crime statistics in jurisdictions that have installed them, such as the United Kingdom.
The cameras also raise privacy concerns, which Watson acknowledged.
“That’s one of the reasons why I’m speaking to the chief later today. Are there things that we can do that are not going to get us in trouble legally, but also act as a deterrent for people to engage in this senseless gun violence?”