While many European countries now employ public video surveillance as a primary tool to monitor population movements and to prevent terrorism, Morocco is catching up on the trend with a large investment in CCTV in Casablanca
Councils, law enforcement and security management professionals in many cities rely heavily on video surveillance as a tool to fight crime and prevent terrorism. According to some researchers, the camera surveillance systems discourage criminals and thus preventing crime.
CCTV systems continue to enjoy general public support but they do involve intrusion into the lives of ordinary people as they go about their day to day business and can raise wider privacy concerns. The debate between public good and citizens privacy is yet to be had in Morocco. But, as many advocates say, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about".
A recent survey in the USA found, some 62% of people favour CCTV while 38% are opposed.
In the USA the value of public surveillance technology helped investigators in April, 2013 to identify the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing after sifting through video images captured by the city’s cameras.
Yet, despite CCTV assisting police and security officials, there are many opponents who are quick to quote Benjamin Franklin - “Those who give up liberty for safety deserve neither”. They make the point that a camera is not a deterrent as all that’s needed is a mask and claim that CCTV allows governments to watch us, which may not matter now, but in the wrong hands, could be catastrophic.
Surveillance cameras are now everywhere in Casablanca and being recognised as an effective weapon against crime. The main city areas are under surveillance to ensure the safety of citizens and control crime and traffic problems.
Casablanca, as part of its urban development program, has completed the installation of 500 cameras in key areas with an investment of 450 million dirhams. The latest cameras have been added to the existing 400 surveillance cameras that cover the entire tram network.
Al Ahdath Al Maghribia News reports that other cameras are installed inside trams, allowing the drivers to constantly monitor what is happening both inside and out. The surveillance cameras are connected to monitors at the Casablanca Waliya in Sidi Moumen.
In addition the Casa Transport company, responsible for providing urban transport, has 300 cameras installed in buses. Each bus is equipped with four cameras that have a fortnight recording capacity. Al Ahdath Al Maghribia reports that these cameras have already helped both the police and the judicial authorities resolve several criminal cases involving assault, theft or acts of hooliganism at football matches.