Oceanside city leaders will vote Wednesday on a measure that would allow for more than four dozen surveillance cameras to be installed in the city’s downtown area as a means to help the local police department supplement understaffed service.
If approved, 54 surveillance cameras would be installed around Main Street and local businesses in an effort to help authorities monitor crime in those areas. Supporters say the cameras would add a layer of safety to the city since they could help police with investigations while opponents argue that the cameras would be an invasion of privacy that could potentially be used to target certain individuals.
“Even though it’s a public area, being seen 24/7 is almost like feeling like everyone is watching us regardless,” said Lexus Martinez, an Oceanside resident. “Now that we have to look behind our backs, it’s kind of uncomfortable.”
The city worked with the Oceanside Police Department and to locate the most strategic placements to install the cameras. They would focus on busy intersections, streets and alleys, in addition to a few beach areas and the coastal highway.
Proponents said they would feel safer with the cameras installed.
"There was a lot of theft in the area. Some weird situations with people,” SoCal Trading Company Operations Manager Samantha Sager said.
Sager added that the extra security the surveillance cameras would add would “be great for our area, for the safety of our staff and be able to stay open later."
The proposal isn’t exactly a new topic in Oceanside. The $500,000 budget for the cameras is already available since the funds came from the Measure X budget approved for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The Oceanside City Council will meet at 5 p.m. for their meeting on Wednesday and are expected to make a decision then.