I have been thinking about surveillance mainly because my course is starting off with it as a subject, and how it can be seen in different ways by different people. For the purpose of this post I am limiting the word to mean police presence and CCTV etc., not all the other data that is collected on us which also comes under the term.
In my course DVD, the scenario is a large shopping centre in a relatively poverty-stricken area of Leeds (UK). As well as CCTV which is constantly monitored, the centre boasts several security guards and a full time police constable. Security is very visible and the people interviewed in the centre said that it made them feel safe; in fact there was a group of people who went there regularly to 'mall walk' for exercise, as they didn't feel safe walking in the public parks nearby.
But I started thinking that if I went to a shopping centre and it was full of security guards, cameras and on duty policemen, I'd think that it must be a risky place to be - otherwise why would you need all the security?
A friend in the States commented on her facebook page yesterday (she knows who she is and I'm sure won't mind me quoting her!): "Huge police presence, as usual. I don't recall seeing so many green helmets and automatic weapons, though. I confess that has made me a tad uneasy just now." and it made me think again about the effects of visible security on the average person.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. Does a very visible security personnel presence in a 'normal' every day public place make you feel safer? or more at risk from some unseen threat?