S.F. Police Surveillance Cameras Yield Little Evidence


San Francisco police have viewed footage from city-owned surveillance cameras only about twice a month since the city began installing them in high-crime hot spots a year and a half ago, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Just once has the footage identified a suspect, Still, Deputy Police Chief Morris Tabak said the 33 cameras in 14 spots have cut crime by deterring those who know they are being watched in their “comfort zone.”

Most cities using video surveillance allow officers to view images in real time. In San Francisco, police must determine a crime may have occurred on camera before requesting footage. Tonight, the city Police Commission decides on Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request for 25 more cameras in eight locations at a cost of more than $275,000. Anamaria Loya, who directs a nonprofit legal center in an area where Newsom wants 10 new cameras, said they are not a solution for residents concerned about their safety. “They’re throwing us a bone that doesn’t work,” said Loya, who would like to see more interaction between police and high-risk youth, more social programs and better street lighting. “If they crack down on one corner, the problem moves to another.”

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/17/BAGM8NJTE51.DTL

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