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Posted: 6/24/2003 6:43:24 AM EDT
[img]http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2003/06-24/dcam-1-300.jpg[/img] Retailers camera-shy no longer SURVEILLANCE: Palm Springs warms to downtown security system aiding police. 06/24/2003 By BARBARA E. HERNANDEZ THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE PALM SPRINGS - Some retailers wave at the security cameras dotting downtown Palm Springs. "I actually wave at the camera when I open my store," said Stuart Peterson of Stuart's Fine Jewelry in a telephone interview. "They couldn't have put it a better place -- it goes seven feet into my store." Opposition to the downtown Palm Springs' security cameras appears to have diminished since the project began in August 2002. Despite concerns then from some City Council members, citizens and the local American Civil Liberties Union, many owners of downtown businesses have come to see the $365,000 camera system as a boon rather than a burden. [img]http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2003/06-24/dcam-2-216.jpg[/img] Valerie Berta/The Press-Enterprise A sign posted in downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive lets pedestrians know that security cameras are in use. Despite concerns last year from some City Council members, citizens and the local American Civil Liberties Union, many business owners see the $365,000 camera system as a boon rather than a burden. "My first reaction was that I was really freaked out by the idea of security cameras due to privacy issues," said Joy Meredith, owner of Crystal Fantasy and president of Main Street Palm Springs, in a telephone interview. "But now I think they've turned out to be a good thing." The cameras are found on Palm Canyon Drive at Vista Chino, Via Lola, Alejo Road, Amado Road, Andreas Road, Tahquitz Canyon Way, Arenas Road, Baristo Road and Ramon Road. They're found on Indian Canyon Drive at Andreas Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way. The system, which costs about $30,000 a year to maintain, will continue even as four police officer positions are phased out in the city's new budget. Two of the positions, a drug prevention program officer and police activities league officer, will be filled by civilians, allowing them to be paid at a lower rate. "It's not meant to replace police officers," said Palm Springs police spokesman Dennis Graham. "It's just a tool that's really valuable." Graham said that after about 10 months of service the cameras have been especially valuable in two cases, one an assault with a tire iron and the other an officer-involved shooting. 2002/The Press-Enterprise A camera mounted on a light pole along Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs. The security camera system costs about $30,000 a year to maintain. Tapes are kept in storage for a year. If the videotape is used as evidence in a crime, such as in the case of Reginald Dennis Lyons, a Banning man accused of nine felonies, including resisting an officer, the tape is stored until the case is adjudicated, Graham said in a telephone interview. "But even with the tape, things aren't crystal clear," Graham said. "The scene was filmed a half-block away." Security cameras have been used in other countries, especially in Britain, where the cameras were initially installed to locate members of the Irish Republican Army. It's unclear whether crime actually decreased during the camera usage, according to an article in the Congressional Quarterly. And closer to home, Huntington Beach and Miami Beach have used outdoor cameras to monitor crowds in shopping districts. But the system's critics are not convinced the good outweighs the bad. George Frandsen, an attorney and president of the desert chapter of the ACLU, still opposes the cameras. "Cameras can't intervene in a crime or give assistance to someone being assaulted," Frandsen said in a telephone interview. "What we need are more police officers, not more cameras." He said security cameras can give retailers a false sense of security. Frandsen owns a booth in an area with a surveillance camera. "But they can't find the person who broke my 19th-century candleabras," he said. "The presence of a police officer is the most powerful deterrent to criminal activity." Graham said they've also had a few calls from businesses and citizens volunteering to be a location for a security camera -- some even willing to pay for the camera themselves. Mayor Will Kleindienst said that the system gives the city an "edge" in dealing with crime. "We can locate the scene of the crime and begin immediate surveillance," Kleindienst said in a telephone interview. Meredith said she views the cameras differently. "I look at downtown Palm Springs as an amusement park," she said. "Disneyland has cameras all over the place and it feels secure."
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 7:04:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 7:20:18 AM EDT
Palm Springs is wall-to-wall old rich people who drive big ass cars and golf (think Florida west). They really do buy into that line "I'm from the goverment and I'm here to help you". The UK is covered in CCTV systems and they pretty much done nothing but make people *feel* safer, which 95% of all public "security" is about anyway. As to actually reducing crime? I don't think so.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 7:50:16 AM EDT
Shoot them with crossbows.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 9:53:35 AM EDT
real nice, let's get rid of 4 police officers, Now even law enforcement is being downsized....
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 9:55:04 AM EDT
hmm I wonder if I can tap into that for spring break week.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 9:59:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By freeride21a: hmm I wonder if I can tap into that for spring break week.
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Lately Palm Springs has been the haven for lesbians. Have things changed back to college orientation?
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 10:08:57 AM EDT
People are being warned before hand by the signs, and they are in a VERY public place. So I dont see a legitamite violation of privacy. As a cop i think the tapes would have great value as evidence in criminal cases. But I've grown used to idea since every minute of my work day is audio and video recorded. I'ts never hurt me, and it's helped me a great many times.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 10:11:56 AM EDT
Originally Posted By nightstalker:
Originally Posted By freeride21a: hmm I wonder if I can tap into that for spring break week.
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Lately Palm Springs has been the haven for lesbians. Have things changed back to college orientation?
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dunno, ever since they banned g-strings it changed. I havnt seen anything about spring break there since they banned them.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 10:17:11 AM EDT
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