Pleasanton City Council unanimously approves 'situational awareness cameras'

In a unanimous vote, Pleasanton's city council approved moving forward with applying for a $3 million grant from the state for ‘situational awareness cameras’ to deter and address crime

If the grant money is approved, the council will lay out policies and procedures for moving forward on getting cameras installed in the downtown area as well as some of the inroads to the city and the high density shopping areas. 

The goal, the council said, is to help prevent theft.

While the city council supported the move, several members did say they were concerned about privacy.

But police said cameras would not be used to look for crimes, only to respond to reports of something happening.

"There's no intent right now, or even in the future that I can see, that we would be combing through the amount of data we would be collecting to look for crime," said Capt. Kurt Schlehuber. "We would be relying on people to notifying us of something that occurred, and that would trigger the search." 

The cameras do not include facial recognition technology. 

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And the city says the cameras will follow guidance suggested from the ACLU, where any data will be automatically purged after 30 days.

Councilor Julie Testa said, '"we are a wonderful and safe community, but we are not immune from what other communities are experiencing.’’  

Many east bay cities, including Dublin, Antioch, Hayward, Walnut Creek and Concord among others have installed cameras that have proven to be effective. 

Councilor Testa said, ‘we know these cameras have so much value, our neighboring communities have been using them for a while.’ 

Catherine Larsen just moved to Pleasanton from Modesto after sending her two kids off to college. 

Asked if she thought cameras help in deterring rime, she said, "I absolutely think cameras help with crime prevention and I think it helps make a community feel safer. I know that’s a big concern and people like the lifestyle in Pleasanton. Anything we can do-- including cameras I think helps maintain the wonderful lifestyle we enjoy here.’’

The next step will be for the city of Pleasanton to apply for the state grant. 

If approved the next step will be to put the project out to bid as well as determine locations for installation.