City leaders will consider moving forward with a plan to create a security camera registry that would allow police to tap into surveillance footage from private citizens.
The proposal, up for review at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, would allow residents to voluntarily register their cameras with a citywide law enforcement database. The San Jose Police Department would access the footage after a crime in the area.
Councilman Sam Liccardo introduced the idea earlier this year after police closed in on a suspected arsonist in downtown using video footage submitted from nearby residents.
Privacy groups raised concerns about the plan, saying it gives authorities surveillance access to a private place.
The city may model the database after one in San Ramon, where a two-page web portal describes the program on the first page and offers a registration form on the second. It would take about 50 staff hours to set up a similar website in San Jose, according to the city. And once it’s running, would require minimal maintenance.
“This approach of creating a simple program would help to ensure that the maximum number of interested parties are given the opportunity to register,” Assistant City Manager Angelique Gaeta writes in her memo.
Other cities that have similar registries include Philadelphia, Dover (Maryland), Sacramento, Los Gatos, where businesses and homes have signed up, and New York City, which also crowd-sources video feeds when searching for suspected criminals.
Philadelphia, Dover and San Ramon reported a drop in property crimes since creating the program. Some cities give stickers for program users to post on their property, similar to a neighborhood watch badge, to advertise their cooperation. Some have boosted leads by posting submitted footage on police department social media pages, getting people to comment, share and keep and eye out for suspects.
“[Police] believe their surveillance camera registry programs established a deterrent for criminal activity in areas where it is well-known that a significant amount of surveillance cameras are registered,” Gaeta writes. “More specifically, the City of Dover Police Department reported that a significant number of downtown businesses participate in the program which has led to a decrease in vandalism and burglaries in that area.”
Liccardo wants to add a mapping component to the registry, so authorities can quickly find the location of a camera.
"Clearly, we can do far more by creating a simple registry, aided with software that can display the geographic proximity of cameras to a crime scene (e.g., on a Google Map), to quickly enable officers to know who to call to request footage if a burglary or robbery has been committed nearby," he writes in a memo.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for Sept. 10. 2013:
- A federal judge ordered the city to pay $90,000 to a tech salesman who won an excessive force lawsuit against a San Jose cop.
- Mobile homes should be protected given the city’s lack of affordable housing, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Madison Nguyen say. The city should make it a priority to come up with a mobile home ordinance that would keep them safe from future development. With 10,000 units in 59 parks, San Jose has the highest number of mobile homes than any other Bay Area city—possibly in the state. But under the city’s official blueprints for future development, several of those parks lie in areas slated for urban villages, making them likely targets for conversion. “The urgency of this situation makes this policy a priority and necessary to protect one of the few affordable housing options we currently have,” reed and Nguyen write. “We must do more to promote affordable housing within San Jose and that should begin with protecting the options we do have.” Residents of a mobile home park near Santana Row have been asking the city for help for the past year, ever since finding out that property owners have been negotiating a deal with developers. “This is particularly troublesome given the state of affordable housing in our city and the lack of opportunities or alternative options for displaced residents,” the memo states. “Furthermore, any change to their living arrangements would not only be a temporary disruption, but would dismantle the social network many of these residents rely on.”
- San Jose’s airport is still trying to bump its airline capacity back to pre-recession levels. To help bring in new business, the city hires outside air service consultants. The council will consider a $975,000 three-year contract with Seabury APG and AviaSolutions.
- Councilman Xavier Campos will travel to Dallas to attend a conference put on by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
- The city is looking for another employee to serve on its Federated Retirement Board after a member took a job in Cupertino, leaving an unanticipated vacancy.
- Councilman Pete Constant is headed to Tempe, Ariz., for an annual crime prevention conference organized by the National League of Cities.
- Councilwoman Rose Herrera wants the city to sponsor a walk to raise money and awareness about people with “balance disorders.”
- A homeowner is asking to pay off a down payment assistance loan if the city agrees to lift deed restrictions on the property. Varun Shah, a patent attorney, bought the townhome in East San Jose at the height of the market in 2006 for $565,000. When he bought the home, it was subject to a city policy that required the developer to provide discount down payment assistance loans to moderate-income buyers for 20 percent of units. Shah says he will pay off the balance of the $143,600 developer discount loan if the city lifts its affordability limits and allows him to use the property as an unrestricted rental investment. If not, he says, the lender will foreclose on the address, putting the city out $100,000 and one affordable housing unit. If the city approves his request, it will receive the loan repayment but have to create another affordable housing unit elsewhere in the city.
- Outreach services for homeless people in downtown will cost the city $347,000 through next summer.
- The city is looking to update its parkland fees to reflect current real estate values, resulting in a 5 percent to 12.5 rate increase for housing developments.
- A $712,700 regional transportation grant will pay for improvements on Coyote Creek Trail.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260