Surveillance cameras proposed to combat 'no snitching' street code

Surveillance cameras proposed to combat 'no snitching' street code »Play Video
FILE -- One of the three surveillance cameras at Seattle's Cal Anderson Park
SEATTLE -- A "no-snitching" street code is such a problem in Seattle's Rainier Valley that some civic leaders want cameras installed to help police solve crimes.

The president of the Urban League says surveillance cameras could be the solution for several crime-plagued corners in Rainier Valley.

"Llet's explore placing cameras at places where shootings and gang violence are prevalent," James Kelly said.

A gang-related shooting last month is among a string of crimes police can't solve because witnesses won't cooperate. A youth outreach worker says it goes back to the no-snitching mentality and fears that people who talk get targeted.

"You're going to get killed, you're going to get hurt, for telling," said Carlos Garza. "So if it takes cameras to save lives, let's do it."

Kelly hopes the cameras can counteract the no-snitching street code that leaves so many crimes unsolved. The Urban League has identified hot spots where surveillance cameras could play a role.

They are clustered along Rainier Avenue South and Henderson Street South.

"I feel like we should put one everywhere, surveillance everywhere," said resident Shanice Sanders. "If we're just going to put it on Henderson, why just put it over here?"

But Ayana Cain said it feels like an invasion of privacy.

"You want to be able to freely walk down the street or go to school without feeling like the cops are just watching you," she said.

Seattle experimented with surveillance cameras in Cal Anderson Park, but abandoned the program last year when it failed to solve a single crime.

Kelly says until people in Rainier Valley are ready to identify the criminals, he'd like to try out cameras.

"But in the absence of them stepping forward, we need the streets to speak to us, therefore we need cameras," Kelly said.

The Urban League isn't sure where the money would come from to install the cameras. The city spent $850,000 to run the cameras at Cal Anderson before that program ended.