From the Washington Post story Hackers Hit D.C. Police Closed-Circuit Camera Network
“ransomware left police cameras unable to record [from Jan 12 to 15]”
“the safety of the public or protectees was never jeopardized”
So to be clear: Cameras — at least the ones in the article — are not for the safety of the public.
Cameras can serve other purposes. For starters, cameras can: (1) Aid post-incident investigation, and (2) help provide transparency. But I think we should be careful about always assuming they are for public safety. The distinction is especially important when we are having public debates about cameras and society “sleep-walking into a surveillance society”.