Beach Surveillance Cameras Unmanned

By Greg Bledsoe
|  Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010  |  Updated 9:01 AM PDT
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Beach Surveillance Cameras Unmanned

Greg Bledsoe

The promise of police video surveillance in one San Diego community once did a lot to ease fear following a brutal crime. Following another incident, residents now learn nobody is watching the camera.

A man and his girlfriend were attacked this past weekend in a parking lot near Belmont Park. He ended up stabbing two of the attackers.

There are multiple surveillance cameras in the area, but it's still unclear if the incident was recorded because officers have stopped monitoring the cameras, which the community demanded three years ago after the violent rape of two college students.

"What we found over the following couple of years, we just were not seeing anything in terms of criminal activity," said Capt. Christopher Ball.

So, now, no one's watching.

"It was more of an advantage to have that officer out in a patrol car out as a deterrent seeing crimes, reporting crimes, taking crime reports than sitting watching a video screen," Capt. Ball said.

Those cameras, capable of seeing up to a quarter mile and rotating 360 degrees, now sit stationary, only recording a crime occurring right in front of them and only useful after it's reported.

"Why couldn't they get a cadet in there or someone from the police academy or someone of a lower pay grade?  It doesn't take a brain surgeon to say something's going on there, let's get somebody to it," said a Mission Beach resident.

Another resident is hopeful that the cameras may still be a deterrent.

"They think someone's watching, whether someone's watching it at all, who knows," said Sam Burch.

And still useful say police, even if no one is watching.

"We have an officer down there right now as a result of the stabbing that occurred to look at the video and see if we captured anything," Capt. Ball said.

Police say no charges have been filed against the men who allegedly attack the couple here over the weekend, or against the boyfriend who stabbed the attackers. Police say they will do a thorough investigation, and the surveillance video, if it was pointed the right direction could be a crucial piece of evidence.
 

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