Oceanside PD Asks City Council to Approve Surveillance Camera Network

Oceanside police want surveillance cameras to help supplement understaffed service

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The Oceanside Police Department is asking for half a million dollars to install and operate video surveillance cameras to keep an eye on Downtown.

The 54 cameras would primarily be focused on activities in the Main Street Oceanside Property and Business Improvement District.

The plan is getting mixed reviews from business owners and residents.

The effects of pandemic shutdowns have taken their toll on the business district just southwest of Oceanside City Hall.

"There was a lot of theft in the area. Some weird situations with people,” SoCal Trading Company Operations Manager Samantha Sager said.

Experiences like Sager's helped influence OPD's decision to request cameras.

"It would be great for our area, for the safety of our staff and be able to stay open later," Sager said.

According to an Oceanside City Council staff report posted online, the half-million dollars for those cameras is already available.

It came from the Measure X budget approved for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  

The man behind the counter at the military outlet said police cameras are a double edge sword. Certainly, they help with police investigations, but they could also give police an opportunity to target legitimate customers.

Lexus Martinez and her fiancée Douglas Cafe are frequent visitors to the area. Martinez said such enforcement is a slippery slope.

"Maybe they are targeting certain people. Honestly it is not necessary at all," Martinez said.

Cafe disagrees, as long as the program is well-intentioned.

"It would be different if it was in your home or someone hacking you, or something like that, but it's not. It's in the public area, and the intention is to keep everyone safe," Cafe said.

The 54 cameras would be strategically placed to cover busy intersections, streets, and alleys.

The plans also show a desire to place cameras in a few beach areas and along coast highway.

"That would help police find out what is going on and possibly shut down incidents before they occur, resident Phillip Gage German said.

For better or worse, the cameras are getting the council staff recommendation along with the endorsement of Councilmember Ryan Keim, who's also a former police officer.

Keim told NBC 7 the police department is short-staffed and needs to improve the level of its service with fewer people.

The Oceanside City Council is expected to make a decision on the project Wednesday.

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