City leaders in Richmond Heights, Ohio are requiring all businesses and apartment complexes to install surveillance cameras at their own expense and turn over video footage to police regardless of whether police have a warrant. Officials are effectively turning Richmond Heights into a police surveillance state, and violating residents’ civil liberties in the process.

All businesses in the city are required to install police-approved video surveillance systems under an ordinance city leaders passed in March. This ordinance is based on a similar mandate city leaders passed in 2021, which requires all residences with more than three rental units to install security cameras. The two ordinances are nearly identical; both require business or apartment complex owners to install police-approved surveillance systems that meet certain technical and storage requirements. Both ordinances force owners to give police live access to their cameras if their surveillance systems have wireless capabilities, demand individuals turn over video footage to law enforcement regardless of a warrant, and give police unfettered access to perform compliance inspections. Failure to abide with any part of either ordinance could result in fines of up to $500 a day.

These ordinances are a gross violation of Americans’ civil liberties. That’s why the Institute for Justice (IJ) sent a letter to city leaders in Richmond Heights calling on them to repeal these Orwellian ordinances.





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