More Security Cameras Coming to Sac City Streets
Sacramento’s cash-strapped police department will soon be buying more than $600,000 of security cameras. Officials say the public, outdoor cameras help deter and solve crime. But the cameras come with questions too.
Monday, April 20, 2009
First, there’s the issue of privacy, often raised by civil liberties groups. Police Chief Rick Braziel says the city is sensitive to that – and any private areas that show up will be blurred out.
Braziel: “The cameras we will put up will only be in places that are open in view to the public, so it’s no different than someone walking down the street with their videophone.”
There’s also the question of effectiveness. The city installed three cameras in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood earlier this year, but the police department says it has yet to use them in solving a crime. An Indianapolis newspaper report raised similar questions.
But Mayor Kevin Johnson says his staff looked at both Portland and Kansas City – and cameras are working there. And Chief Braziel says it’s actually a good thing when the cameras don’t solve crimes.
Braziel: “One of the things they do is act as a deterrent. And unlike the movies or CSI, where you get to go see what you prevented, in this line of work, you can’t see what you prevented. You can’t capture that.”
It will take the city at least a couple of months to obtain and install the cameras. Officials say they’ll go in areas that draw lots of people – and lots of crime.