A low-profile, high-tech plan by San Diego police to tap into the feeds of private video surveillance cameras across the city has so far managed to corral five participants, according to documents released following a public records act request to the city.
“The SDPD would like permission to access your cameras as a part of its public safety and crime fighting activities,” says an April 29 memo from the police department to local pharmacies, many at high risk of robberies and burglaries. “The camera system should also be able to provide real-time streaming video to SDPD patrol cars that have been dispatched to answer the alarm call. This will enable officers enroute to the scene to make better, more informed tactical decisions and determine whether additional officers and emergency services are required.”
Sign-ups for Operation Secure San Diego have so far included Island Village Apartments at 1245 Market in East Village; Temple Emanu-El at 6299 Capri Drive in Del Cerro; the Grande North condominium homeowners’ association at 1205 Pacific Highway, near the Embarcadero; and downtown’s public library.
The memo to pharmacies notes that cameras alone are not cure-alls. “If cameras are not monitored all the time, signs regarding cameras should simply state that ‘cameras are on the premises’ or ‘surveillance is in progress.’ Don’t use words like ‘security,’ ‘protection,’ or ‘monitoring’ because they can give people a false sense of security by expecting timely help if they are threatened or attacked, or that they or their property are somehow being protected by the cameras.”
The memo also points out that selling prescription drugs is a dangerous business requiring an array of sophisticated set-ups in addition to video, including a mantrap, “a secured space for one person equipped with two interlocking doors to insure that only one person at a time can pass through into the room,” along with a “bullet-resistant glass, plastic, or laminate shield and a bullet-resistant door.”