Police Chief Near San Francisco Advocates Digital CCTV
EL CERRITO, Calif.
A plan by the police chief in El Cerrito, Calif., calls for almost every business in the San Francisco Bay Area city to install a digital video surveillance system to deter crime is being well-received by business and political leaders, according to a newspaper report.
Police Chief Scott Kirkland began considering the idea of camera surveillance in 2005, but after an owner of an area restaurant was killed during a robbery, he decided to make it happen, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Kirkland is working to develop a list of digital cameras, lenses and media storage for business owners to install. Older, analog-based systems are not useful in identifying criminals, he told the newspaper.
Before he asks the City Council to turn his proposal into law later this summer, Kirkland plans to hold three community forums in July to get feedback.
City spokeswoman Suzanne Iarla told the newspaper information on camera prices and types will be available at the forums.
Kirkland wants the cameras installed in all retail and wholesale businesses that require a use permit, including liquor stores, gun shops, pawnshops, check-cashing outlets and fast-food restaurants. Not all businesses require a use permit.
Sewall Glinternick, manager of El Cerrito’s Chamber of Commerce, says surveillance cameras are a hot topic among the group’s 250 members.
“I’m not prepared to tell if this plan is worth (its) salt yet, but I sure as heck am going to listen to it,” Glinternick told the newspaper. “All we know is we had some businesspeople killed in a botched robbery in April, and there are serious concerns in the business community about that killing, especially in a community like this with a high murder rate.”
Stores would be required to install one camera per cash register and one at each entrance or exit, loading dock, parking lot or other “vulnerable” area, such as an employee break room, according to the newspaper. Failure to comply could result in fines or revocation of business permits.
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