City Of San Diego Adds 3,000 Cameras And Sensors To Their Street Lights

While having cameras can help with solving crimes, many are concerned over privacy issues. However, this didn’t stop San Diego from upgrading 3,000 street lights spread around the city with sensors and cameras. 

It started back in December of 2016, when the San Diego City Council approved a $30.3 million project budget for this. In total, a presented 14,000 street lights will have sensors enabled. The total amount of cameras are estimated to be at 3,000 with possibly more in the works currently. 

Image: Luis Gomez / The San Diego Union-Tribune

There are many uses for cameras and sensors like this. Different law-enforcement applications have not yet been considered, but will more than likely be enabled as well in the future. Locals who live here, likely have mixed feelings about all of this. 

Imagine everything being captured nearly everywhere within the city limits. Accidents, crimes and whatever else will now be documented on video recordings. Perhaps some people will feel a sense of safety while others feel violated. 

City residents are now realizing a better understanding of just how the police will access and use these recordings. Erik Caldwell is the director of economic development for the city. He spoke with The San Diego Union-Tribune back on Tuesday and said the following:

“When we launched the system we did not intend for law enforcement to get as much use out of it as they are,” Caldwell said.

“And so as that changed and that fact changed we wanted to engage the public in having a conversation about that … to make sure that this unintended use case has the proper policy and oversight in place to ensure privacy and ensure that there’s no nefarious use.”

Image: Luis Gomez / The San Diego Union-Tribune

Caldwell explained that these cameras mounted on the 2,940 street lamps over the city, do not have the capability to engage in facial recognition or license-plate reading, as is the case in other places. An additional 250 are currently being installed, he said.

The San Diego Police Department has used video footage to assist in at least 46 investigations, Lt. Jordon told the Union-Tribune on Tuesday. The cameras are recording 24 hours a day but access to video footage is highly restricted, according to the department’s policy on the “Intelligent Streetlights” program.

Police officers do not have access to the full 24 hours of footage that each camera captures every day, Caldwell and Lt. Jordon stressed. Caldwell said it is not a surveillance system.

The intention of all of this is for San Diego to become a smart city of the future.

(Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune)

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