In a novel effort to increase surveillance in a crime-plagued area, Oakland city leaders have purchased a batch of cameras for merchants in the Fruitvale district who were unable to afford them, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The deal with the merchants, who must allow police to view the footage, comes three months after the slaying of a community leader, and as the city attorney’s office seeks a civil injunction against alleged gang members in the neighborhood.
The 30 cameras were paid for with $35,000 in redevelopment money. They will be installed inside and outside of local businesses. Within hours of the April 8 slaying, merchants had a meeting with Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Anthony Batts to ask for help in reducing crime. They asked the City Council for more motorcycle cops and increased patrols. Officers on all-terrain motorcycles have been trained in recent months and are expected soon. “It’s a sad commentary that these improvements in security come about because somebody was killed,” said a bookkeeping business owner.