City to Install Police Surveillance Cameras Along OB Waterfront

by on November 2, 2015 · 5 comments

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


Lt Carter of SDPD explaining the surveillance cameras at the OBTC meeting, Oct 28, 2015.

10 Cameras Will Go Up Between End of November and Jan. 1st

It was announced by police representatives at the last OB Town Council meeting that the City will be installing police surveillance cameras along the waterfront of Ocean Beach.  Ten cameras will be set up between the OB Pier and the San Diego River, sometime between the end of November and the first of the year.

Lt. Carter of the Western Division presented the project at the Wed., Oct. 28th meeting. The cameras will be installed “at key locations”, he said, indicating that these would be high-crime areas. One is definitely going up at the OB Pier and the others will need city-supplied juice for their locations. They won’t be pointed at any residences, Lt Carter assured the crowd, and will be pointed down.

“This is not Big Brother,” he said. They won’t be secret cameras, he continued, in fact, they will have signs indicating their presence. “They’re not there to spy on anyone”, but can be referred to if something does occur. Their recordings can be viewed – and if relevant – copied into a case file. It’s costly to store all the data and recordings, so they’ll re-record ever so often.

The project budget is $25,000, Lt Carter said. Before the cameras are installed, the project has to have its budget request go through City Purchasing, then a contractor has to be determined. So, the audience was told, they will go up sometime between “the end of November and the first of the year.”

“They will also be used by the lifeguards,” the commander iterated, without further explanation. Lt Carter ticked off some examples where the cameras could be used; a lost child, someone’s bike is stolen, – “after the fact things”, and can be utilized to observe what happens during “a sting operation” at the beach.

The meeting was told that police don’t have enough staff to watch the cameras continuously. There will be only one pan-zoom camera – under the pier – and all the rest will be fixed.  The cameras will be connected to a server in the Lifeguard Station right there on the beach.

“The number one priority [for the cameras]” Lt Carter stated, “is to be used as deterrents.” The issues are “quality of life and your safety,” Carter continued, “I hope to see positive things.”

“There’s dangerous travelers out there,” he said, and then recounted how 3 travelers who ended up killing two people in northern California were originally arrested in OB before they went on their murderous rampage up north.

In response to questions, Lt Carter discussed the 4 cameras already installed on the Police Trailer in the OB Pier parking lot, and how their views of the waterfront are blocked by vans and vehicles.

At the end of his presentation, Lt Carter stated that other beach communities, such as PB and Mission Beach have them, and how they’ve been used successfully to combat prostitution along El Cajon Boulevard.

In sum, Lt Carter was describing a project that was a fait accompli – a done deal. It was only a matter of a few weeks and the cameras would be up and running.  “Good stuff!” Lori Zapf’s representative exclaimed about the project at the same meeting.

So, without a community-wide debate on whether OB needs them or not, the police have determined that OB will have the cameras.

Apparently, a couple of OB community groups have given their blessing to the project – but it is clear that Ocean Beach is divided on the camera system going up. For instance, the OB Rag ran a poll on whether people thought the cameras were necessary, and only 38% of respondents wanted them.

A group of concerned citizens met over the weekend in response to this project and decided that they have a lot of questions about the cameras, and will be spending this week seeking answers from politicians and other local groups. They will be meeting again next weekend to discuss the responses received and where to go from there.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie November 2, 2015 at 11:20 am

Hey, is my French spelling correct?


Christo November 2, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Which OB Community Groups have given their blessing?


OB Joe November 2, 2015 at 1:52 pm

I’ve heard that the OBCDC and the OBMA have.


Christo November 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm

So the same groups that pay for the illegal police trailer that is never occupied???


Dave November 3, 2015 at 9:05 am

I GUARANTEE they will be abused. Hell, if I had access to them id abuse them. On who’s authority are they allowed to do this?


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