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Published on March 29, 2024
Gov. Newsom Greenlights High-Tech Surveillance Camera Rollout to Boost Oakland and Bay Area Freeway SafetySource: Flock Safety

To ramp up security in the Bay Area, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a major deployment of high-tech cameras throughout Oakland and surrounding freeways.

The initiative, a contract between the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and tech firm Flock Safety, will see around 480 cameras installed to curb criminal activities and freeway violence, according to a statement by the Governor's office. This camera network promises to extend beyond traditional surveillance, as it can identify vehicle specifics, such as make, color, and even unique features like decals, which can be crucial in tracking down vehicles associated with crimes.

Oakland's Mayor, Sheng Thao, hailed the move as a significant stride toward improving public safety, "Improving public safety and addressing quality of life issues in Oakland is my top priority," she said, "This new camera network will help us stop crime and hold more suspects accountable." As described in the official announcement, the comprehensive camera setup will include 290 cameras on Oakland street and 190 along the state highways.

Despite the push for enhanced crime-fighting tools, the privacy concerns that inevitably arise with increased surveillance are being addressed. The camera network will have a 28-day retention limit for recorded footage and will comply with recent legal guidelines from the California Department of Justice. The safeguarding of the data and its restriction from third-party disclosure beyond California law enforcement is intended to balance the scales between public safety and individual privacy rights.

These efforts build on the Governor's consistent endeavors to tighten security in the East Bay, which have already materialized in the form of stings, resulting in the arrests of around 200 suspects, stated Governor Newsom's office. The state has allocated $1.1 billion since 2019 to battle crime, with measures including hiring additional police officers and operational enhancements.