Shout-Out to OB’s Surveillance Cameras

by on March 2, 2021 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

Worker installing OB surveillance camera, July 2016.

Hey, the surveillance cameras installed in Ocean Beach a few years back got a shout-out in an article in a San Diego online news platform. Sort-of.

The Voice of San Diego just ran a piece updating the sordid saga of San Diego’s “experiment” with surveillance and sound devices.

San Diego’s surveillance ordinance is not yet law, but it’s already having an effect on city policy.

The San Diego Police Department said it extended its agreement with ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection company, on a month-to-month rather than annual basis. City staff have the option of keeping the program alive until November 2021, when the terms of the original contract end, but beyond that they’ll need explicit permission from the City Council.

“We didn’t feel it was prudent to lock into a one-year contract knowing that the City Council had concerns about the use of technology,” said Lt. Shawn Takeuchi, an SDPD spokesman.

In November 2020, elected officials approved the first draft of a new law governing the city’s acquisition of devices capable of watching and listening to the public, and laid the groundwork for a privacy advisory board to help oversee those practices. Both are expected to go back to the City Council within the coming months, after undergoing review by the mayor’s office and labor groups.

There’s been growing uneasiness among Black leaders and activists about the way the city has been rolling out technology in public rights of way, and evidence that ShotSpotter, in particular, is not as effective as it’s been portrayed.

Drop down to the very end of the article and you get this:

Devices like ShotSpotter’s are supposed to have a psychological effect on communities, reminding anyone who comes into the orbit that they’re being monitored for potentially criminal behavior — in this case, for loud noises that might signal a gunshot.

During her questioning of police leaders, then-Councilwoman Lorie Zapf argued that cameras in Ocean Beach, along with signs telling people they’re under surveillance, had helped reduce crime. She wondered if deterrence was the goal with ShotSpotter too.

“Very much so,” Zimmerman responded. “We say that we would prefer to prevent crime instead of responding to crime.”



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page March 2, 2021 at 3:25 pm

I guess I’m just confused in my old age.

Zimmerman said the ShotSpotter is a deterrence and that they would rather prevent crime than respond to one.

So, someone shots someone else. The ShotSpotter picks up the noise.

Hasn’t the crime already occurred?

And is this technology designed to focus immediately at the shooter to provide a clear, identifiable picture at night?

How does the ShotSpotter know who to focus on after the shot is fired?


thequeenisalizard March 3, 2021 at 8:36 am

Just more BS to make sure Popo and the Feds can watch you 24 – 7. What crimes did the “Beach Cams” prevent? Did they ever work, or even get turned on? The merchants that fought so hard for them have egg on their faces says I.


GML March 3, 2021 at 1:10 pm

I’m thinking they can finally catch the people lighting off M80s


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