Oakland East Bay Installing Almost 500 Surveillance Cameras to Deter Crime

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OAKLAND, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently unveiled details for installing 480 high-tech cameras in Oakland and on state freeways in the East Bay to crack down on crime in the city, according to a report by KRON.

The camera network “will use technology to attribute license plate numbers in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol and the Oakland Police Department,” the report says. It will also “allow the agencies to search for vehicles suspected of being linked to crimes and receive real-time alerts about their movement,” KRON reports.

“With the installation of this 480 high-tech camera network, we’re equipping law enforcement with the tools they need to effectively combat criminal activity and hold perpetrators accountable — building safer, stronger communities for all Californians,” said Newsom, according to the report.

Once the surveillance camera network is installed, CHP officers will be able to search for crime-linked vehicles by vehicle type, make, color, license plate state, missing and covered plates and other features such as identifying bumper stickers and roof racks, the report says.

The system “also enables real-time crime alerts, alerting authorities when the network spots a suspected crime-linked vehicle,” according to the KRON report.

More About the Oakland East Bay Surveillance Networks

About 290 cameras are expected to be deployed on and around surface streets in the city of Oakland and 190 cameras will be deployed along state highways in the East Bay, said Newsom in the the report.

“These cameras will be in the public right of way. They’re not going to be shining into people’s homes,” said Oakland City Council member Dan Kalb in the KRON report.

Newsom noted in his announcement that the cameras were part of a “broader strategy” of “beautifying Oakland,” adding the CHP recently recovered more than 400 stolen vehicles.

Some critics in the Oakland area wondered about privacy-related effects of the video surveillance network.

“For every dollar we spend on surveillance cameras, that’s a dollar not spent on proven public safety strategies,” said Cat Brooks, co-founder and executive director of the Anti-Police Terror Project, in the KRON report.

“The approach is adopting the same failed strategies we’ve taken for decades,” she said. “We’ve never stopped sending people to jails, yet crime keeps rising because it’s an approach that doesn’t work. Lastly, the cameras are most likely to be deployed in low-income neighborhoods, where largely black and brown people will be impacted. Oakland is supposed to be a sanctuary city yet we don’t know who the data collected will be shared with.”

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