Police look to add surveillance cameras in downtown Oceanside

Local

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Oceanside police are asking for nearly $500,000 to install 54 cameras through much of the city’s downtown area in a push to reduce crime.

If approved, the department would have access to 24-hour real-time footage of downtown in high traffic areas near retail, restaurants, beaches and points along North Coast Highway. The money to pay for the system comes from Measure X, a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2018.

It is on the agenda during Wednesday’s meeting at Oceanside City Hall.

“Hopefully, it’s going to help us keep people safe in our downtown areas,” Oceanside police spokesman Tom Bussey said.

Both city staff and the Police and Fire Commission recommended to City Council to approve buying the cameras and the related storage system from Lake Forest, Calif.-based DiscoverIT Solutions, a staff report shows.

Police say the system would store video up to a year, then be deleted and that cameras will only monitor public spaces.

“Typically, it’ll be something that if something happens someplace – they can go back and view that and maybe identify a suspect if there’s a crime committed,” Bussey said.

Bussey added that many business owners have requested more surveillance.

“I’ve personally been hit twice in my wireless store, once at gunpoint,” said Rocky Rababia, owner of 101 Bagels and Subs on North Coast Highway. “If I had cameras outside, it would help me.”

The plan still raises questions about privacy, though Bussey said, “This isn’t Big Brother watching, that kind of thing.”

“It’s not something we’re going to be looking at all the time,” he said.

Rababia said it’s possible the cameras will make residents and tourists feel safer in the community.

“I know some people are against it,” he said. “In the long run, I think it’s safety for the local residents down here.”

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