04 June 2007

Big Brother is watching

Eye in the sky

Ascoli Piceno has installed at least seven remote cameras around the centro storico area in an attempt to curtail vandalism. This is not a high crime area and we have never felt uncomfortable in any area of town at any hour but they do have a vandalism problem, mostly graffiti. To try and control the graffiti il sindaco, or mayor, has pushed a plan to install these cameras that are controlled by a central control office. There have been several articles in the papers about these since we moved here.

Graffiti is a problem in many areas of Italy and we saw plenty in the area around Anzio and you can’t get away from it in cities like Roma. Here in Ascoli it is mostly in the areas away from the main foot traffic and piazzas where you will find scribbling. There are some areas where I regularly see groups of i ragazzi hanging out and in those locations you will find entire alleys covered with graffiti. Some people here think of the graffiti as reflecting the “soul” of the city but most of what we see is just crap: someone professing love to their latest girlfriend, somebody’s name, bad English or just scribbles. There are some that may be more than this such as the one speaking out against all of the apartment renovations taking place so owners can charge higher rents, but to me it is still graffiti.

A camera was installed in the newly renovated and recently opened Chiostro di San Francesco and I have seen mention in the papers where the il sindaco wants to install more in other parts of the city outside of the centro storico. A local friend of ours repeatedly reminds us that il sindaco is a facist, so perhaps he is just looking at ways to control the populace. Another one of those things in Italy that would make an ACLU lawyer go nuts.

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