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Bill to require surveillance cameras at all 85 rest areas in Ohio

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A bill recently introduced in Ohio seeks to improve safety and fight human trafficking by requiring surveillance cameras at all of the state’s rest areas.

On April 17, State Rep. Lauren McNally introduced House Bill (HB) 473.

The bill would require the installation and maintenance of security camera systems at all 85 rest area locations overseen by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

McNally asserts that the cameras could be used to fight human trafficking and other crimes that commonly occur at rest areas, including drug use, sex crimes and thefts from cars.

“…Ohio ranks fifth for human trafficking incidents, with studies suggesting that Toledo may be a national hubbub for the sex trafficking of juveniles. Truck stops and rest areas appeal to sex traffickers because they have transient populations and people are coming and going at all times of day. Cameras have been linked to deterring crime and solving crimes, all at an overall cost benefit to taxpayers,” stated a news release from McNally’s office.

The bill would require the installation of the camera systems “no later than” June 30, 2031.

Last year, Ohio Governor DeWine announced plans to renovate 33 ODOT rest areas within the next four years, but these plans did not mention the installation of security cameras.

“We want Ohio’s travelers and visitors to have a safe place to rest and take a break so they are refreshed and focused when they get back on the road. Cameras are a cost effective, public safety and crime deterrent tool that we must encourage the state to fully implement in these public spaces,” said Rep. McNally. “I’m proud to work on this legislation that helps law enforcement and advocates around the state who want a safer Ohio.” 

The bill is currently awaiting assignment to a committee.

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