Surveillance cameras are now installed
The Seal Beach Police Department routinely patrols the city’s beaches, parks and all residences/ businesses within the five city council districts. When calls for service are generated throughout other areas of town, it is difficult to have a continual police presence in every area of the city.
Because of this and in response to receiving funds from the 2018 Measure BB general sales tax, the City of Seal Beach Police Department has developed innovative programs to better monitor and reduce crime from occurring in our town.
For example, the Seal Beach Police Department has been installing network cameras strategically throughout public areas of the city to assist in achieving its mission of driving down crime and improving the quality of life in Seal Beach. Furthermore, the network camera system should help in the overall traffic management plan and enhance integrated crime prevention/suppression measures.
With this, when the 2018 Measure BB general sales tax increase went into place, the department promised that it would improve current levels of public safety through technological upgrades. Hence, video surveillance throughout the city’s open spaces in town has and will continue to be a critical tool for years to come.
This necessity for video surveillance was underscored during the September 2020 police reform demonstrations that drew several hundred participants and officers to the Main Street areas. Cameras can become the “eyes” of the city without having to put more officers out on the street.
A command console has been established from which specially trained staff can monitor video feeds in the vatch commander’s office and West-Comm Dispatch Center.
People monitoring the camera system will have the ability to control cameras remotely to follow events as they occur. Most cameras have a 1280-by-720 pixel resolution.
The average cost per camera is approximately $2,000. As a cost savings measure, cameras were built in-house using component parts.
In the interest of full transparency, the locations of the network cameras are as follows: Seal Beach Police Department, Seal Beach City Hall, Marina Center Park, First Street Public Works Building, San Gabriel River, bike path/First Street park, Central/ Main streets, SBPD Substation/ lifeguard headquarters, north and south sides of pier, Zero Tower, and in front of substation.
Future installations include: Public Works, Public Works Utility buildings, traffic cameras on Seal Beach Boulevard and Westminster, Bay Theater, and Chase Bank.
In addition to the law enforcement function of these cameras, the system will also be used to support city departments.
For example, during rain events when flooding is anticipated, the camera system can be used to assist Public Works and responding patrol officers to assess flooded areas more quickly.
A couple of additional items to note specifically related to the network cameras:
• They do not contain facialrecognition software.
• They are not recording audio conversations.
• Only select Seal Beach Police Department staffers have access to the system.
• They follow through on two of the components of the 2021 Seal Beach Police Department CARES Campaign—“C”ommunity Traffic Safety and “R”esponsive to Quality of Life Issues.
• They align with the Main Street Revitalization project.
• They are used to capture crime and deter crime from happening, particularly since these cameras are placed in full view and not hidden.
• Cameras are not meant to replace police patrols of certain areas of the city, but rather to provide an additional tool for responding officers.
• They will also be used to monitor surf conditions and provide lifeguards with more information regarding the San Gabriel River trail and jetty, the Pacific Ocean, public facilities; and community parks “By creating innovative and cost-effective solutions, such as the use of video surveillance as a crime fighting tool and police force multiplier, our ability to help solve crimes and collect evidence is greatly increased,” said Chief of Police Philip L. Gonshak.
For more information about the network camera system, contact Lt. Nick Nicholas at (562) 799-4100, ext. 1160, or [email protected]