Police No Longer Monitoring Surveillance Cameras in Mission Beach But Homeland Security Wants to Install More

by on May 6, 2010 · 12 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Labor, Ocean Beach, San Diego

surveillance camera MBBeach Security Cameras Are Still Rolling But Police Are No Longer Watching Due to Budget Cuts – Yet Homeland Security Funds Will Pay for More

by Michael Chen / Channel 10 News / May 5, 2010

The cameras on the beach are still rolling, but San Diego police are no longer staffing their camera system at Mission Beach.

The five cameras were installed in response to a street robbery and vicious sexual assault case in 2006 that left city and community leaders outraged. It cost $100,000 to install the cameras, which are put up at Belmont Park and South Mission Beach.

But after several years of watching, police have stopped monitoring those cameras.

Frank Gormlie, the editor of the The OB Rag blog, said the cameras are an invasion of privacy and a lack of monitoring them makes the cameras a waste of money.

“It’s ludicrous and ridiculous,” he said.

Police said money in the form of budget cuts was one reason for the move and officers could be doing more important things.

“It wouldn’t be the most effective use of one of our officers,” said San Diego Police Captain Chris Ball.

He said the number of incidents requiring a real-time response did not justify tying up officers 24/7. If the department had enough personnel to monitor the cameras, said Ball, they would be more a effective weapon against crime.

Regardless, police said the cameras are still rolling and remain useful.

“On a daily basis, officers are recovering the digital recordings and frequently those identifications lead to arrests of suspects,” said Ball.

A federal grant of several hundred thousand dollars will allow 13 more security cameras to go up around Mission Bay towards the end of the year.

surveillancecamerasLifeguards said their dispatchers will be monitoring the cameras when they are not performing their regular duties.

Lt. Rick Wurts, San Diego lifeguard chief said the purpose of the cameras was not to record everything as it happens but as a complement to what they are already doing.

“The hope is the cameras will be another tool to help us monitor things in Mission Bay and back up our eyes on the sand,” he said.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie May 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

This is the story on surveillance cameras by Michael Chen I referred to at another post. Even though I was only quoted for a couple of seconds, the basis of the report is quite valid, that on one hand, the City cannot afford to staff its current beach cameras, yet on the other hand, Homeland Security is stepping in with new money to install over twice as many new ones that are also higher quality and 360 rotation ability, infra-red, night vision, 300 yards, etc.


psd May 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Ludicrous. And remember, the proposal for the new camera installation calls for 20 city individuals to be pulled off their regular tasks to undergo training on camera operation. Now we hear there isn’t even money to staff the already-existing cameras?

When my old company went out of business, the new alien overlords spent tens of thousands of dollars shipping me up to Newport Beach for two-and-three day stints training on the use of their new computer systems – this went on once or twice a month for about six months, and most of the programs I never ended up using. If you’ve ever been given knowledge without any reason to put it into practice, you’ll know this knowledge erodes pretty rapidly, like how long (unless you were planning on being a scientist) you remembered the elements in the periodic table after high school midterms. In addition to the wasteful cost of the cameras, we’re now looking at a waste of thousands of hours of salary teaching people to use technology they’re not going to use, and that they’ll be useless for in the case the budget is big enough 2-3 years from now that we can afford to sit their asses down on the dusty chairs in front of the equipment.


BillRayDrums May 7, 2010 at 4:16 am

So….because there’s no one to monitor the cameras locally, we allow the federal government to “step in” and “assist”. Here’s where I get confused: those who want the cameras installed are only thinking about one thing- reducing undesirable elements as imagined by their own manifestations of whatever “undesirable” is.

Depending upon the imagineer, it could be anything from smokers on the beach to boatloads of people “washing ashore”.

It’s quite ironic (and sad) that those who lead the charge for reduced illegal immigration are largely proponents for technology that will allow the federal government to monitor more of our lives freely and without limit. The proposed camera does not reach into their living room…so why should they worry? Regardless of the view, it’s the entire principle.

I suppose the latter would be the Minutemen occupying OB…I can’t decide which is the lesser of two weevils.


BillRayDrums May 8, 2010 at 3:54 am

So I think I figured out how to keep the camera from spying on my living room (I live in the line of sight of it, should it be deployed)

We will put up an infrared light bulb in the room and it’ll be in 24/7. We won’t see it but it will effectively blind the camera. Great, now I feel better…..until the feds kick my door in for “tampering with their camera”. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.


Abby May 10, 2010 at 7:49 am
techdewd June 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Save yourself the power bill, outdoor cameras like these use IR cut filters during the day that filter out IR light, so your idea only works at night. They also do nothing for a thermal imager.


lane tobias May 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

I think maybe theres a lawsuit here. But I’m not a lawyer


Frank Gormlie May 7, 2010 at 11:11 am

Someone could maybe file a restraining order against the City, but good luck on that one ….


Dave Sparling May 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Let me add this to my list.
I am going to start the PBR PARTY MOVEMENT—Our goals return freedom to the American people, arrest stupid drunks on the beach, but leave the rest of us alone. Stop lying to us that evil Muslim masterminds are going to destroy our world. Stop trying to scare us with phony bomb scares in major cities. Other topics appreciated.


Patrick May 8, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Check out Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine.” On page 299 she outlines the procedures the govorporation has initiated to find & fund new markets for our surveillance community. She reports that, “The mission was to identify ’emerging technology solutions that directly assist in the U.S. efforts in the Global War on Terrorism.'” There’s more. “By early 2006, this informal exchange had become an official arm of the Pentagon: the Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative (DeVenCI), a ‘fully operational office’ that continually feeds security information to politically connected venture captialists….” “According to the Bush vision, the role of government is merely to raise the money necessary to launch the new war market, then buy the best products that emerge out of that creative cauldron, encouraging industry to even greater innovation. In other words, the politicians create the demand, and the private sector supplies all manner of solutions–a booming economy in homeland seccurity and twenty-first-century warfare entirely underwritten by taxpayer dollars.”
Apparently, it doesn’t matter if the cameras are now manned; someone, somewhere made a nice profit from the sale. The profit is the motive, with surveillance coming in closely behind it.


Dave Sparling May 8, 2010 at 10:44 pm

You got it Patrick, it is going to one heck of a wild ride. Fortunately the young people will have the protection of plastic in their ears and in their hands and never pick up on what is going on.


knightpro July 24, 2010 at 4:27 am

Those installed security camera monitoring system was designed to be watched after a while to be able to know what happened or to be used as an evidence. If the Police are not using it, why the people should pay, and why install such a gadget after all?


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