Well, it turns out that having people at home monitor border cameras, looking for illegal border crossings, doesn't really work
I first saw a program like
this about nine months ago. At the time, I speculated:
So, for each camera, the group needs, say, 12 rotating volunteers? Or as many as 48 if each person agrees to only take one shift a day? And each of those volunteers needs to commit to 365 days of vigilance? That adds up to a lot of people in a hurry if youâ€™re trying to cover any serious portion of the border. Weâ€™re talking 2,000 miles of border here.
If it worked, I thought, it would become a hot thing to do, but I was doubtful.
Here's what happened to the official program in Texas:
- The coalition hoped to make 1,200 arrests the first year from tips called in by citizens watching the camera feeds on the Internet. In the first six months, there were three arrests.
- The coalition expected to report 4,500 suspected immigration violations to the U.S. Border Patrol in the first year. There were six suspected violations reported.
- The coalition planned to install 200 cameras, or about one ever six miles. So far, 13 have been installed and there probably will be just 15 total. That's one camera for every 80 miles of border.
Well, you can see how this was set up for failure. The initial question, of course, is how they managed to spend $2 million on 13 installed cameras. Is that all cabling? Seems like there's some wasted in the program somewhere.
These kinds of stories are not good for the industry. It was a bad plan, clearly poorly implemented, and now it's a failure story that people can bring around saying, "surveillance doesn't work."
"I think it's a waste of time and it's a waste of money," said state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, a McAllen Democrat. "It doesn't work."
But it's just like anything else: Poorly planned and executed things don't work. Well planned and executed things do work.