Video cameras captured two scenes from the convenience store on Alston Avenue in East Durham on the night of Jan. 9, 2018.
In one, a little boy walks inside, his eyes on the prize. He flashes a mischievous smile, eager to get his hands on a Hostess “Donette” packet stacked neatly a few steps away.
In the other scene, from outside the store, Noe Ruiz and Jerone Powell get into a fight. Powell exits with a stab wound, leaving Ruiz with a court date.
The two scenes captured by the store’s video system show how cameras have become unblinking spectators. They can capture, with incredible levels of detail, the banal routine of a convenience store just as they can reveal the crimes that occasionally occur there.
Swathi Ramprasad, a reporter for The 9th Street Journal, examined the recordings from the Alston Avenue store and explored the pros and cons of our ubiquitous surveillance in this report.