Who’s watching the kids?

There’s a chilling report on the City Limits website about the proliferation of surveillance cameras in public schools. The cameras constitute a $120 million city program intended to reduce school violence. While they’ve been successful in creating an Orwellian atmosphere, the schools are apparently more violent than ever:

In Mayor Bloomberg’s preliminary Management Report for fiscal year 2007, data showed a 21 percent jump in major school crime from July through October 2006: 348 incidents were reported over the four-month period, as opposed to 287 incidents over the same period the previous year. The rise was largely attributed to 197 cases of grand larceny, the sort of crime surveillance cameras are supposed to deter or solve.

“I can only imagine that the increase would have been worse without the cameras that exist,” [City Councilmember, the program’s sponsor] said.

Another fun fact from the article: The NYC public schools are manned by 4,625 safety agents – a larger force than the entire police departments of Baltimore, Boston, or San Diego.