Published on 15 September, 2014
The Silver Comet Trail is a 61-mile hiking and biking trail west of Atlanta that follows a route previously travelled by the Silver Comet passenger train from 1947 to 1969. I heard about the train when I was growing up but was never a passenger. As an adult, I have been on the Silver Comet Trail a couple of times; it’s mostly level and great for biking (or walking). The former route of the railroad tracks has been paved over, extending through a beautiful, natural environment that feels like the safest place in the world.
Which is all the more reason the Atlanta area was shocked when 42-year-old Tina Waddell was brutally attacked on the trail at the end of July. But the community refused to allow the beauty of the trail to be destroyed by the violent act, and many gathered to walk the trail in Waddell’s honour. A “Take Back the Trail for Tina” fundraising effort seeks to cover medical expenses and to create a reward for information on the attacker. The community is reacting with technology, too – the 18-mile section of the trail that runs through Paulding County will now be watched by 47 new HD video cameras.
The cameras will be distributed among 21 locations along the trail in Paulding County. There will also be two additional Smart car security patrols helping to increase security. The county is also planning to expand the fibre-optic network along the trail to allow seven additional camera locations to be added.
Surveillance provided by the extra cameras will hopefully make users of the trail feel safer. The need for video surveillance in what is mostly a natural, wooded environment is a commentary on the expanding presence of video surveillance throughout our lives. Those of us who think of video surveillance as mostly an urban phenomenon should reconsider.
When video surveillance makes our cities and towns safer, where do the criminals go? Wherever it is, we may need to install cameras there, too, even if it’s in the middle of the woods.