Brockton (Mass.) Approves Video Surveillance Mandate

Bars and other establishments that serve alcohol after midnight will be required to operate a CCTV system in an effort to thwart criminal behavior.

BROCKTON, Mass. – Beginning in the fall, every restaurant, bar and club here that serves alcohol after midnight will be required to maintain a video surveillance system, a mandate aimed at helping combat violent crime.

The city’s License Commission members recently voted 4-1 in favor of an amended proposal, with one commissioner dissenting. Establishments have until Nov. 1 to install a surveillance system, according to The Enterprise. If they have existing security cameras, owners must demonstrate to Brockton police that their system adheres to the conditions of the requirement.

The mandate is part of a three-pronged surveillance strategy by Mayor Bill Carpenter that also includes asking businesses on main roads to voluntarily install cameras. Carpenter has also required convenience stores and other businesses open between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to install systems similar to those mandated for alcohol establishments, the newspaper reports.

Brockton is located 25 miles south of Boston with a population of about 95,000. Forty-four restaurants and bars and 10 clubs will be affected by the surveillance requirement. Since recommending his original proposal in May, Carpenter has compromised with business owners on several key aspects, including reducing the amount of time video has to be stored and providing additional time to install systems.

“I’m a pro-business mayor. I’m not looking to pick on small-business owners,” Carpenter told the newspaper.

Commission members have made several adjustments to the original requirement. For example, owners now have to cover 50 feet into a parking lot rather than the entire space; changed the penalty for noncompliance, forcing a business to close two hours early; and another gave owners 30 days to install a system after a first warning.

“It’s a huge concession to make,” Jason Minassian of Harry’s Westgate Pub told the newspaper about the parking lot coverage change. “It’s almost literally impossible to cover every square inch.”

But not everyone was happy with the outcome. John Efremidis, owner of Alamo Cafe, told the newspaper he has an interior surveillance system and that it will cost a lot of money to add cameras outside.

“It was a setup job. They were going to pass it anyway,” Efremidis said of the commission’s changes. “They were not going to listen to reason or price.”

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