The 4th amendment of United states of America protects individuals right to privacy. The law in acts as a protection upon its citizens, it is a protection to be essentially, left alone. Public surveillance clearly infringe on people's right to privacy; in George Orwell's 1984, government collects massive amount of information and acts as a "big brother" like entity taking control over people's everyday life. I am not saying we are a totalitarian state, but public surveillance breaches the right to privacy and lead us one step closer to becoming a totalitarian country. Government can still sufficiently track down criminals by tracing their calls on targeted surveillance for example use police force to track them down.
How would you like it if you are using the bathroom and someone watching you? I definitely wouldn't! I would hate it to be having a feeling like someone is watching me while getting dressed or using the bathroom. Yes I know that it helps fight crime. They also cause lots of harm!
In countries, such as Korea, in which video surveillance in public places is standard, the crime rate is very low. Signs all over the streets remind citizens that they are being filmed. This would suggest that public video surveillance is an effective deterrent to crime. Additionally, public video surveillance is an effective crime solving tool.
Video surveillance cameras in public places help to fight crime and catch criminals. It gives evidence that would be hard to come by otherwise when trying to investigate wrongdoings. An example of this is the use of public cameras to identify the people responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings and track them down.
Although I am strongly supportive of removing government surveillance cameras from public places, I would not ban the cameras for use by private businesses. (For example, having a camera overlooking their storefront, which is technically public) However, all traffic cameras and closed circuit camera use by the government should immediately cease, and I would be for the banning of those type of cameras.
In a perfect world, video surveillance would not be needed in public places. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. There are many dishonest people on this earth who are seeking to hurt others, steal from others, or damage others' property. Video surveillance is needed to curtail these types of activities. When these things do happen, video surveillance is needed to identify the person who did these things and bring them to justice.