“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment… It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized”
-George Orwell 1984
The year is 2011, and the local ‘crime investigating’ unit is facing a rate of crime that seems to remain relatively stagnant. In a city where the real crimes are crimes of passion, when those with power seem to fragment society and everyday a new brutality case emerges where a young man or woman was gunned-down in cold blood, or viciously beaten to death. But if only there was a way for these beatings to become more frequent, for the suspects who were brutalized to be painted as the aggressor while the real aggressors could run wild. If only there were a system that would track the movements of every citizen in Denver, to manage their every step, to oversee their lives, to catch them in any misbehavior or misdeed they commit. If only there were a system that could ensure that these riled up citizens of a horrible, corrupt town, only trumped by Gotham City could be kept in line. If only there were a way to ensure that no one in this god-forsaken country could ever step out of line and speak their mind again. Yet out of this need for such unflinching and unwavering oppression comes the answer, a security system that places an invisible state official on every corner, to watch your every move, to ensure that NO ONE steps out of their place…
The following series of attacks on the 1984-ing of the Denver streets will continue with articles examining the funding of the HALO camera system, through corporations including Target and the Colfax Business Improvement District (CBID); along with a few articles on the HALO Oversight Committee and the battle between privacy and ‘safety’. These articles, along with condemning the actions of the HALO system, will most likely be the most comprehensive series on HALO and its constituents to date, as a near media blackout has eliminated this 1984-ing from reaching the public eye.
“We would like to put a cop at every corner. But in reality, who can put a cop at every corner?” Said Lt. Ernie Martinez, the pig behind the High Activity Location Observation (HALO) system; so why not just put a camera on every corner (Denver Post)?
These high resolution cameras used in HALO were (of course) brought to you mainly by the private sector; corporations who have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure ‘order’ in the streets of Denver. Target, one of the main funders of the HALO system in Denver, reportedly donated over $100,000 towards the 1984-ing of our streets (Denver Post). Apparently, in an act specifically targeting our youth, Target also asked that their donation be used to infest our PUBLIC schools with HALO cameras, which are now being installed at Kennedy, North, and George Washington high schools (Denver Post). These sites would be added in addition to the HALO cameras that can already be found at Lincoln, Montebello, East, and Manual high schools (Denver Post).
In addition to the extremely generous Target donations towards furthering the HALO All Seeing Eye; the Colfax Business Improvement District (CBID) also plans to make a donation of over $250,000 to the Denver Police Department for the installation of HALO cameras on East Colfax. The CBID is a both public and privately owned corporation who turn a profit on the gentrification of East Colfax. According to the CBID’s ‘Strategic Plan’, one of their only 4 successes was to introduce “a video surveillance system that has contributed to a significant reduction in crime in the area” (CBID 3). CBID’s stated goals include the promotion of “economic vitality and sustainability for CBID property and business owners” and to “protect, promote and enhance the assets of its property and business owners by providing a clean, safe, attractive, functional commercial district for its customers, visitors and employees” (CBID Mission Statement). In other words, CBID seeks to force the community members of East Colfax out, while tactically positioning HALO cameras along the East Colfax corridor, in order to make the area seem ‘clean, safe, and attractive’ for its customers and wealthy business owners. This goal of protecting business over people is a consistent theme throughout the HALO/pig thought-process, as federal grants are being approved to place these cameras at places like the Cherry Creek Mall, in order to protect “potential terrorism targets” (Denver Post).
One must consider that these HALO intruders not only want to protect their businesses through gentrification, they also seek to intimidate and harass ordinary Denver citizens. In fact, another major donor to the 1984-ing of our streets, were the major contributions toward beefing up the pig-security during the Democratic National Convention in 2008 (Denver Post). These federal funds paid for 50 additional HALO cameras in downtown Denver alone (Denver Post).
Denver is not the only city that is dealing with this neo-pig intelligence system, the streets of Baltimore are littered with over 400 similar cameras, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, claims that he will install a camera on every corner (in addition to the 2,250 already in place) by the year 2016 (Denver Post). Additionally, the city of Philadelphia is known for its HALO cameras in poor neighborhoods. The cameras blink a constant blue light. There is a joke of sorts in these affected communities that if viewed from space north Philadelphia is one giant blue light.
Furthermore, HALO-like camera systems at the 2001 Super Bowl were also equipped with face-recognition technology in order to identify ‘criminals’. Considering that this technology has been used so prominently for over 10 years, it’s almost certain that these face-recognition systems are used within the HALO network in Denver streets, especially with the hundreds of thousands of dollars being poured into this project. These HALO cameras are also able to “zoom in and capture an image of something as small as a license plate as far as a block and a half away” (Denver Post). As these cameras will never be used to identify traffic violators, this might be a poor example; and furthermore, the insinuation that traffic violations are what these HALO cameras are being used for is bullshit.What the Denver pigs really want, simply restated, is the ability to “zoom in and capture an image of something as small as a” face “as far as a block and a half away”.
Similar tyrannical camera systems in Chicago are also able to identify the sound of gunshots and automatically focus on the source of those sounds; although super-pig Ernie Martinez explains that the HALO systems do not yet have this type of technology. The Denver HALO system’s mysterious absence of this new technology is clearly not due to lack of funding, nor to the respect for the privacy of Denver residents. So why are the Denver HALO systems so far behind in this opportunity to further their ‘fight against crime’? Why would the Denver Pig Department (DPD) stall in the opportunity to catch shooting perps? Could it be because the DPD themselves are usually the ones popping off rounds in the middle of the night? Perhaps because the Denver pigs don’t want to get caught murdering any more innocent Queen City residents?
These overtly repressive tactics being used by the Denver pigs to keep Denverites from stepping out of line, to keep Queen City citizens from upping the ANTI all over their asses, are simply petty scare tactics that should not be taken lightly. This push towards the 1984-ing of our streets is just a step toward the even further oppression, gentrification, and destruction of our families, friends, and communities, and it’s time to finally stand-up and put a stop to these criminal acts committed by the biggest gang on our streets: THE PIG$…
A LIST OF HALO CAMERA LOCATIONS CAN BE FOUND HERE:
STAY TUNED TO WEST DENVER COPWATCH FOR MORE ARTICLES FROM
‘FUCK HALO: A SERIES OF ATTACKS ON THE 1984-ING OF OUR STREETS’
CBID – Mission Statement
CBID – Strategic Plan (PDF)