Now You Can Be A Minuteman, Too

Now you can help watch the border, and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home:

Texas has started broadcasting live images of the U.S. border on the Internet in a security program that asks the public to report signs of illegal immigration or drug crimes.

A test Web site went live Thursday at with views from eight cameras and ways for viewers to e-mail reports of suspicious activity. Previously, the images had only been available to law enforcement and landowners where the cameras are located.

“There is only one way to test it, and that’s open it up for business,” said Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw.

Some civil rights groups have criticized the “virtual border watch,” saying it will instill fear in border communities and could lead to fraudulent crime reports and racial profiling.

The cameras will operate at hot spots for illegal activity, such as Amistad Reservoir in Del Rio and Falcon Lake in Zapata, and other active border areas such as highway rest stops and inspection stations, officials said. Information e-mailed by viewers goes to the state’s operations center and local law enforcement in that area.

Here’s the website. You have to register to use it. Pretty cool, if non-functional. I mean, you report the crime by sending them an email? I know email is quick, but I wouldn’t rely on it to report a crime or to save my life or anything. By the time some hapless agent checks the email, these guys are loooong gone.

But still, I guess it beats the heck out of sitting in the middle of the desert, you know?

Brian runs the website Iowa Voice, and is filling in for ST for a few days.

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