Without Debate, San Diego Police to Install 10 Surveillance Cameras Between OB Pier and San Diego River

by on October 21, 2015 · 35 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Politics, San Diego

OB police cam trail bh 01

This is a current camera on the police trailer in the OB Pier parking lot. All photos by Lois Lane.

Lt Carter Informs OBMA at Crime Prevention Meeting

By Lois Lane

If you want to be a video star, don’t count on the Ocean Beach video cameras for fame, much less fortune.

Soon to be installed in Ocean Beach – at the beach between the OB Pier and the San Diego River (Dog Beach included) – will be ten police surveillance cameras all pointed at the areas deemed most critical by the San Diego Police Department.

Lt. Bill Carter of the SDPD filled in members of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association (OBMA) Crime Prevention meeting on Tuesday, October 20 with the details.  He will be making similar and updated information available to the regularly scheduled meetings in Ocean Beach.

OB police cam bh 02

Possible location of police surveillance camera.

Carter claimed that there will be no surveillance of residences, and there will be no regular monitoring, certainly no 24-hour viewing of a bank of monitor screens.

The purpose of the surveillance cameras, Carter said, is to be able to document reported crimes, and to serve as a deterrent in high crime areas.  However, he added, they may be monitored for specific planned or undercover police actions.

The police lieutenant announced that the cameras will be installed in the next month or so.  Part of their location will be determined by the availability of a City power supply source, some place to put the camera, and frequent high-crime location data.

Once operational, Carter said, the videos will be preserved for approximately 30 days.  There are 10 cameras, and the system has 3 terabytes of storage.  Whenever that fills up, he said, the disk starts to over-write.  This is projected to be about 30 days, but is not a specific number.  However, once a segment is reviewed and if it becomes attached to a crime case, it is written off to a DVD and preserved as part of the evidence folder.

OB police cam bh 03

Another possible location for a police surveillance camera. You have a power source and near “critical area”.

Carter assured the committee that the surveillance will not be secret. The poles will be identified, and the locations given to the community as soon as they are known, he said.  It is expected that the system will have a 2-year warranty.

After the 2 year warranty period is up in Ocean Beach, the city will make the determination for further maintenance funding.

Ocean Beach is not the first installation, Carter continued, as Mission Beach and Pacific Beach already have them.  A video surveillance system in City Heights was donated, but was not continued with city funds.

OB police cam trail bh 02

Existing camera on trailer.

There are currently four cameras on the police trailer in the Newport Avenue parking lot.  These turn out to be primarily for the protection of the trailer, and how these cameras will be used in conjunction with the new system is still in the planning stages.  Parked cars currently prevent these cameras from getting a good look at what is going on at the sea wall.

As far as the OB Rag can tell, police – with the support of one OB organization – are making a near uni-lateral decision without a community-wide debate – about the installation of police surveillance cameras at OB’s waterfront.

For OBceans that just don’t get to all the community meetings, the OB Rag will keep you posted.  Who will be the real video stars?  Will the only possible roles be on “Ocean Beach’s Ten Most Wanted,” with the casting director your local police force?

OB police cam bh 01

Another possible location for a police surveillance camera: atop the American flag pole at the end of Newport Ave. Seems very appropriate.

Editor: When the OB Rag ran a readers’ poll on this issue … and here is what we reported:

Poll on Police Surveillance Cameras: Only 38% Want Them

… According to this poll – which ran for a week and had 141 participants – only 38% are ready for the cameras (53 votes). These readers agreed to the option that read:

“We need these cameras. OB has become unruly especially at night when criminal elements act with impunity.”

However, on the other side of the question, a full quarter of the readers who took part – 25% – believed it smacked of “big brother” and “would be an affront to our rights and privacies,” (35 votes).

A fifth of the voters- 21% – didn’t feel the case has been made for them before the entire community, and agreed to this option:

“Those who want the cameras need to make the case for them before the entire community. This has not happened.”

A large group of respondents – 16% – had too many questions about the funding in order to support the camera installations (23 votes). They agreed with this option:

“Where is the money coming from when we cannot get funding for our lifeguard station or library? So, too many questions to support this.”

Everybody had an opinion it seems, as only 1% had no opinion.

This poll does reflect a divided community on this issue. Nearly 40% want the cameras, a quarter are vehemently against them, nearly one in five question the funding, and another fifth don’t think the case has been made for the cameras.

Please note: this poll and the others we ran for a week are not scientific and we cannot know whether those who participated are from OB or the Point Loma area. However the poll results do reflect the opinions of our readers.

jettyboy October 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Let me get this straight. According to Carter, there will be no surveillance of residences, no regular monitoring, no 24-hour viewing. So how are they supposed to monitor crime? Just wait until they review the DVD to see if there were any crimes committed? How the feck is that helpful in stopping crime? But they will be used for specific planned or undercover police actions. He also states they won’t be secret. I guess he means just like the body cams they wear, that they refuse to release because they may make citizens angry according to Chief Zimmerman.
Welcome to ‘Merica 2015, where the government does all this just to “Protect and Serve”. (themselves.)

smuffy October 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Kudos to the SDPD, Chief Zimmerman, and Lieutenant Carter for being decisive and proactive in looking out for OB in these high crime areas. I trust their judgement, skill, and ability. Crime has gotten so bad businesses around town have been hiring private security. We are lucky to have our well trained professional enacting a protection plan. I’m ready for those cameras. I was ready five years ago. Thank you very much SDPD.

Geoff Page October 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

Wow, that sounds like a sound bite from the SDPD itself.

smuffy October 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Thank you.

jettyboy October 23, 2015 at 10:27 am

Wow, amazing response to more surveillance by your government. I bet you’re one of those people that thinks it doesn’t concern me because I don’t do anything wrong. Do you also believe that limiting free speech is ok because it doesn’t effect you? That’s what the Germans were saying in 1939, and the Russians during the cold war. Didn’t work out so well for them did it? If total surveillance by your government is fine with you, perhaps you should visit some countries that have it so you can experience it firsthand, before you become a cheerleader for government repression.

smuffy October 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Thank you.

I got a hot tip for you; steer clear of Vegas.

OB is so consolidated that our first responders are right in our face. I have taken the time to get to know some of them and they are wonderful. I enjoy talking to them. I feel secure knowing they are looking out for me. If I was going to place a bet on who wanted to invade my privacy and tell me what to think and do; I would pick you jettyboy. The law never tries to tell me what to do. I love me some law enforcement … mmmm … mmmm … mmmm. I believe in doing my own thing and minding my own business. I like manners, making just about anything, all sorts of animals, nature, long conversations with loved ones, glitter, giggles …

unWASHedwallmartTHONG October 23, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Hey, you two, get a hotel room.

smuffy October 23, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Will there be surveillance? LOL!

jettyboy October 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

Your response “The law never tells me what to do” I’ll leave it at that. You obviously need to return to your home planet for some R&R.

smuffy October 24, 2015 at 10:24 am

jettyboy-There will be people in life that like what you don’t like. It’s better for all parties involved if you mind your own business and give your attention to what you do like. Doing otherwise obviously brings out the intolerant and irritable in you. Now run along and have some fun. It’s a beauty today.

I’m so thankful SDPD is going to keep a better eye on our beach crime. They need a camera on Santa Cruz Cove, too. TEAM SDPD!!! XOXO

mjt October 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Homeland Security is lurking in the background somewhere.

Don Johnson October 21, 2015 at 6:24 pm

The machine loves the tools of the state almost as much as the state loves itself.

Anon October 22, 2015 at 3:13 am

Solely used for monitoring crime.

Overheard at police HQ, “That girl is so hot, it’s a crime.”

Book’em, Danno

Dr. Jack Hammer October 22, 2015 at 6:22 am

A surveillance camera on top of the American flagpole would be too perfect. Welcome to your future… Amerikkka.

opensource October 22, 2015 at 7:58 am

They should make the video stream open to the public.

smuffy October 24, 2015 at 10:29 am

Great idea! I hope it happens. It will be my second favorite chanel after CSPAN.

Alex October 25, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Yes they should , if it’s to “help” our community ..

UNwashedWAlmartTHONG October 22, 2015 at 8:59 am

First, fascism needs no input from those under surveillance.
Second, this is another slip in the slippery slope towards total surveillance.
And that is why Ocean Beach & London are sister cities.

When I was a juvenile delinquent in a great Eastern city of the great ‘merikan rust belt, we all knew the names of the cops on the beat. We now don’t know the cops on the beat; we only know that cops beat.

Frank Gormlie October 22, 2015 at 10:13 am


OB Alex October 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Smh there goes OB , cameras at the beach now ??? What’s next ..

Frank Gormlie October 23, 2015 at 9:55 am

The folks leasing the STVRs can relax now.

Mike B. September 20, 2016 at 4:07 am

I just spotted a SDPD surveillance camera in front of my apartment building @ Fashion Valley Rd & Friars Rd. (Fashi0n Terrace Apartments. Not cool. Must be because all of the crime (drug traffic, vehicle thefts/break-ins, home invasions, etc.).

smuffy September 20, 2016 at 8:23 pm

What’s not cool is having thousands of people sleeping along the San Diego river, in canyons, and in bridges. I map trash for river clean ups and we find piles of stolen luggage, drug paraphernalia, and you name it, all hauled down in the river bed. If you knew what was across the street from you, you would want more cameras. There is a methadone clinic by you on friars. It brings junkies that need fix money. We wouldn’t need to be protected with cameras if we were taking care of our people.

Mike B. September 20, 2016 at 10:25 pm

I know EXACTLY what’s across the street from me, and along the river. I am also WELL aware of the methadone clinic next door to my building. Cameras do not and will not prevent any of that from occurring. Nor do they protect anyone or anything. All government surveillance cameras do is infringe on the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and record crimes after they are committed.

If the Mayor’s and City Attorney’s offices, along with the CA State Legislature, as well as judges, would not tolerate such behaviour in CA and San Diego, and if the police would do their jobs and enforce the laws, we wouldn’t have these problems. Spying on the general public is not the answer.

How about letting law abiding citizens get their concealed carry licenses and protect themselves? When seconds matter, the police are only minutes and hours away. I’m not sure when’s the last time you had to call the police for anything, but their response times are ridiculously slow. Not to mention the ridiculous hold time for 9-1-1

But yeah, government surveillance cameras protect us.

smuffy September 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

What are you doing that you are trying to hide?

The SDPD is not spying on the public. You twisting our protection to suit your personal issues puts us all in danger. What are you doing to help the community besides complaining and pointing fingers? Just because we elect officials doesn’t mean we can sit on our duff while we dump all the responsibility on them. Your opinion is baseless and inaccurate. We don’t have enough cops to contain our crime. Feel free to go on over and get yourself signed up to protect the public.

Mike B. September 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

You sound like a Nazi and are completely insane. People like you are responsible for fascism.

Your comments are not based in fact or reality. You’re living in some crazy utopian 1984 fantasy world.

smuffy September 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Awww … poor dear. Too, funny. I hope your in your safe space now. Get something soft and take a nap while reliable people do the work.

Mike B. September 21, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Negative. I’m armed and take care of my own safety, as any responsible human would. To rely on others, especially police and your government to protect you and keep you safe, is an exercise in futility.

But I guess expecting someone who doesn’t know th difference between “you’re” and “your” to read my previous cmmntw in their entirety, is wishful thinking. You like have seen that I suggest that CA lawmakers allow CA citizens to acquire their concealed carry permits, just like the free states. That way, CA citizens can clean up the mess themselves, since the police. Judicial system, and state legislature are either unwilling, or are too incompetent to do so.

Geoff Page September 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Mike, I agree with your position in these comments. The only one we will disagree on is the concealed carry issue but other than that, you are right on, including your opinion of Smuffy.

smuffy September 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Still having a fit? Never learned to communicate did you?

Mike B. September 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Please excuse my typos. My phone’s auto correct is acting a fool.

smuffy September 21, 2016 at 12:42 pm

This is just a blog. Substance trumps spelling errors.

“Maybe I can’t spell well, but I can remember well” – Cindy Brady

Mike B. September 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Wow. What are you, 12 years old? The only person throwing a fit is yourself. You are the one whose comments are always defensive in nature, picking on others. And hurling unwarranted insults.

Your communication skills are basically nonexistent.

Jon September 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm

^ Worst OB Rag fight ever. Booooo…hissss… I want my money back.

editordude September 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm

We’re cutting off debate.

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