San Francisco Police Commission to vote
on 22 new crime cameras
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
November 15, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The mayor's plan to install 22 new
cameras in high crime areas of San Francisco is scheduled to go
before the police commission tonight for approval, but not everyone
is supporting the popular proposal.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the installation of
the cameras because the group claims they would lead to an Orwellian
invasion of privacy without actually deterring crime.
In a letter to the police commission, the ACLU wrote, "We
fully understand and appreciate the need to respond to the very
real and significant crime problem, but video surveillance is
not the answer. While at first glance video surveillance may appear
to be an easy and intuitive way to deter and decrease crime, the
reality is that study after study demonstrates that cameras neither
impact crime or fear of (retribution)."
The letter goes on to suggest spending the money on other, more
effective, means of combating crime such as improved foot patrols,
community policing and improved lighting conditions.
But police, who are generally in favor of the cameras, have been
calling on community members to come to tonight's meeting in support.
Capt. Albert Pardini of Bayview station wrote in a community bulletin,
"These safety cameras have become an important component
of ensuring public safety in the areas that suffer from violent
Pardini also called on residents of his community, where a camera
at Third Street and Newcomb Avenue is planned, to write to the
Another 28 cameras, between $4,000 and $7,000 each, are expected
to be installed within the next year. Thirty-three cameras are
already in use, according to Mayor Gavin Newsom who unveiled the
plan in September.
So far, at least one camera has helped capture a man suspected
of shooting a 13-year old girl in the leg in front of the Alemany
The next 22 cameras are slated to be installed at 16th and Mission
streets, 24th and Mission streets, Geneva Avenue and Mission Street,
Turk and Taylor streets, Ellis and Jones streets and at 1050 McAllister
Tonight's meeting begins with a closed session at 4:30 p.m. The
meeting is expected to open to the public at 6 p.m. when the camera
installation hearing will begin.
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