Liz Allard, a Gravenhurst resident, is raising the alarm about improperly installed home security cameras that could be infringing on people’s privacy.
She spoke to Gravenhurst council during the Jan. 17 Committee of the Whole meeting to ask them to look into putting a by-law in place to ensure neighbour privacy. “This past summer in my neighbourhood I became aware of a situation where the improper placement and aiming of cameras on one property resulted in excessive coverage of a neighbouring backyard that includes the back of the house and the right window to the master bedroom,” she explained.
Allard says the police were called but they were unable to do much because of a lack of by-law. “It was messy,” she says.
Allard says there is no issue with cameras pointing toward a home’s driveway. Her issue is the ones that are placed in a way that can see a neighbouring property’s backyard.
“Given the right to privacy that we should expect in our backyards and the increase in surveillance technology for home protection, I believe it is time to address this issue,” says Allard.
The by-law Allard is asking for would prohibit cameras from taking footage of neighbouring backyards.
Coun. Sandy Cairns says if a by-law is drafted, it needs to be very specific and written in a way that wouldn’t make it harder for OPP or by-law to investigate issues. “I have cameras at my house and I try to be very careful with the way I position them,” she said. Cairns explained that she dealt with vandalism at her home recently and the tires of her car were slashed. She said the footage from her security camera helped police nab the suspects.
Allard says many municipalities in Ontario have drafted by-laws to regulate how home security cameras can be used, notably in Oshawa where a couple was charged for improperly placing a camera.
Mayor Heidi Lorenz said the issue will be discussed again at a future council meeting.