WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - In Glover Park, neighbors began raising alarm last week when four sets of cameras were noticed in the area around the Russian Embassy. Now community leaders are raising concern over privacy, after learning that they were installed by the U.S. State Department, as a security precaution.
"Our big concern is that they don't all seem to be aimed at the compound," said Jackie Blumenthal, the chairperson for the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission. "And there's one - on the corner of Calvert and Tunlaw - which seems aimed at the community."
A State Department official released the following statement to WUSA9, in regards to these cameras:
"The security camera that was recently installed outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, is one of the measures employed to safeguard a diplomatic mission. Under certain treaties, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the State Department has a duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of diplomatic missions against intrusion or damage."
The ANC was made aware of the cameras, after neighbors filed complaints last week. One of the cameras, located at the intersection of Tunlaw Road, Fulton Street, and New Mexico Avenue, is adjacent to multiple apartment buildings, fueling concerns for privacy. Mary Young, from the ANC, took the first complaint last week.
"We have no access to who is being surveilled and why," she said. "And we want to find out exactly what it's all about."
Blumenthal said that the local commission is taking no action as of now, although she said the group "may protest," if privacy is not full protected. The office of Councilperson Mary Cheh, from the DC Council said that her office was aware of the issue and was "concerned with resident's privacy."
Some neighbors like Marie Louise Swenson said that she wasn't concerned because security trumps all.
"Your privacy is not invaded," she said. "It's as simple as that. It doesn't concern our lives whatsoever. The only time it would concern us is if somebody does something stupid. Then they're caught hopefully. And that's good. Isn't it?"