Ocean Beach residents debate surveillance cameras

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SAN DIEGO – The community of Ocean Beach is divided over the installation of ten new surveillance cameras by year's end.

Privacy activists were angry when police and City Councilmember Lorie Zapf canceled their appearances at a town hall meeting Wednesday evening. Activists say the cameras, which will stretch from Dog Beach to the Newport Avenue pier, will threaten their free way of life in Ocean Beach.

“Big Brother, the surveillance society -- these are real concerns,” said resident Frank Gormlie, an attorney. “We had not had any input. There was a lack of notice, lack of community input, debate or discussion about the cameras and all of a sudden, they’re coming in.”

Other community members say the $25,000 project will help fix the decades-long crime and drug problem near the pier.

Activists started a petition in an effort to keep the cameras from being installed and berated police for rushing the project through without their knowledge.

If nothing changes, the cameras will be installed by January 1.


  • GinaRStark

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  • Mr Hand

    I’ve lived in OB for over 20 years and have watched it spiral downhill over the last 5 or so years. Some people in this community keep clinging to some false 1970’s reality of what OB should be. The reality though is the drugs and crime that occur around the beaches and pier at night. Shoot, even in the daytime the area along the wall at the foot of Newport looks areas of skid row downtown. Nothing against homeless people in genera, but most folks around here will agree that there is a new “breed” of homeless infesting OB: young kids, who aggressively pan handle, litter and contribute to an over all feeling of an unsafe environment even in the daytime. Cameras. Bring em. They’re welcome here.

  • Cameras will not fix the problem. Huge waste of our money!

    Cameras will not fix the problem! They are just a multi million dollar hookup to the vender by the councilmember and by a few citizens who are fooled into believing that this intrusion is the solution. You will not stop drugs. Simple nuff they have tried this aggressively for years and have only wasted money. Who is going to watch the videos and if you think that some cop is going to watch the cameras or even muddle through tons of video for a drug deal YOU ARE WRONG! If you want the homeless and pan handlers to stop causing problems…feed them somewhere else! Start ticketing people who encourage pan handling! This intrusion is a big waste of money whereas simple solutions right in front of our faces should be implemented first!

    • B. Hendrix

      Maybe consider reviving the vagrancy law. Maybe consider taking away the politically correct rights that allow the pan handle activity. I deal with the panhandler in a very effective way. I simply inform them that they need to do something to earn the money. I merely explain that they need to allow me to hold and photograph their ID card. I inspire them to think about the end result of letting a complete stranger have access to that information. I then say that I will pass this method on to everyone willing to listen in order to discourage their pity party.

  • Estaben Calabacas

    Privacy activists say the cameras, which will stretch from Dog Beach to the Newport Avenue pier, will threaten their free way of life in Ocean Beach…………just what is their “free way of life”???????.

  • B. Hendrix

    Threaten your free way of life. Wow, that’s a good one. I will now guess or assume the surveillance cameras already installed at a private residence doesn’t bother you. The cameras installed at almost every gas station, banking institution, Starbucks, CVS, Wal – Mart, Denny’s, many drinking alcohol establishments, hotels, the Ocean Beach surf cam….all of those cameras do not infringe upon your ‘free’ way of life.?? What? It can’ t be …. so, what lifestyle, activity, or behavior is occurring in the camera free zone? Why be afraid of being alive in an area of surveillance? What are you doing that is being threatened? Maybe consider staying in your residence, hotel, vehicle, or cardboard box while you smoke mary j, drink alcohol, use a syringe, engage in promiscuous activity, and scratch your ass. Oh yah, I guess it would be more difficult in picking someone’ s pocket or physically striking another person or animal while being watched. Damn human trash need to learn to curb your illegal desires, or, change the rule of law so your behavior,activity, actions are considered legal.

  • DB

    OB touts themselves as a “classic Southern California beach town” Maybe in another lifetime. They could learn a lesson from Carpenteria–that is the “classic Cali beach town” that OB should be.

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