San Jose Seeks Access to Private Citizens' Surveillance Cameras

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
01/31/2014
       
San Jose Seeks Access to Private Citizens' Surveillance Cameras

A candidate for mayor of San Jose has offered a plan to grant police access to privately owned surveillance cameras.

Some local law-enforcement officials aren’t content just to use government cameras, so they plan to tap into privately owned equipment to increase the scope of their surveillance.

The San Jose Mercury News reported on a proposal sponsored by San Jose, California, city councilman Sam Liccardo that “would allow property owners voluntarily to register their security cameras for a new San Jose Police Department database. Officers then would be able to access the footage quickly after a nearby crime has occurred.”

San Jose isn’t alone. It is only the latest metropolitan area to expand surveillance of citizens. As The New American has reported, Las Vegas, Baltimore, New York City, New Jersey, Seattle, and as many as 60 other locations have installed cameras, microphones, and other surveillance apparatuses throughout their towns.

In fact, San Jose isn’t the only city in California that is turning to surveillance cameras to fight crime.

As reported by the californian.com on January 17:

Unanimously, and over several public objections, Seaside City Council approved the $100,000 purchase of a citywide surveillance cameras system late Thursday.

The goal is to fight crime, said Seaside police Chief Vicki Myers. She estimated a conservative $220,000 for initial install and $5,000 annually thereafter to run the STEMA (Spacio-Temporal Event Management Architecture) cameras.

The Mercury News article also suggested that there is a need to ramp up the surveillance in San Jose because “crime rates have surged.”

A string of arsons that were investigated using surveillance footage provided by residents prompted Liccardo to make the cooperation official. The Mercury News reported:

It became apparent that there's a lot of evidence out there that residents want to provide," Liccardo said, predicting that the cost would be nominal because existing city technology employees could maintain the database. The new database "is something that costs very little but could have a big impact in making San Jose safer.”

Will the cameras make the city safer? Evidence from other towns choosing the surveillance option to fight crime suggests that they will not.

Thousands of surveillance cameras are showing up in cities across the country without a corresponding reduction in crime. Citizens are taking notice of this facet of the federal takeover of local police, and they are speaking out.

Click here to read the entire article.

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