NEWARK — Twenty automatic license plate reading cameras with the ability to scan millions of license plates each year will be installed in Newark as early as next month to help prevent crime and solve more cases, police officials said.
But it’s not clear if a mass surveillance program will actually help police meet those goals, and Councilor Mike Bucci questions the plans, saying he’s interested in broader access to technology and politics. Concerned about the lack of clarity. usage data.
In June, the Newark City Council voted 3-1 to authorize the police department to pay $165,000 to Atlanta’s Livestock Protection, which would lease 20 cameras to be installed around the Newark area, primarily 14 square feet. Miles on roads in and out of town.
According to Swarm, the cameras can scan 30,000 cars per day. Newark has about 50,000 residents.
Mayor Al Nagy, Vice Mayor Mike Hannon and Councilor Maria “Susie” Colazzo supported the plan, while Bookie avoided the vote and Councilor Luis Freitas was absent.
Negi expressed his support for the cameras, saying his wife loves watching television dramas about policing, which often show the cops fighting for security camera footage after the crime in the neighborhood.
“Cameras have become a wonderful tool for solving crimes,” Nagy said.
Hannon also supported the cameras.
“There are a lot of citizens out there who say, ‘You know what, I’m tired of crime, I’m tired of my car being stolen, I’m tired of stealing.’ We must do everything we can to fight crime,” said Hannon.
However, the bookmaker questioned the installation of cameras.
“I don’t have my colleagues’ enthusiasm for government surveillance,” he said in response to comments from Hannon and Nagy.
While the bookmaker said he was ok with private homeowners associations setting up similar swarm systems in Newark, and that the city had previously attempted to combat theft in its parking lot through the use of license plate readers at Newpark Mall, he wasn’t convinced. That Newark needs cameras at all entrances to the city. and leaves.
“In general, I’m not a big fan of collecting bulk data just to collect bulk data, especially from people who didn’t do anything,” Bookie said in an interview.
Police Captain Jolie Macias told the council that the cameras would help police solve crimes by comparing the vehicle’s license plate, make, model and color to a national database to determine if it was stolen and if anyone was missing . The person is connected to an investigation or wanted as evidence.
Macias said that over the past three years in Newark, 70% of people arrested on suspicion of robbery, carjacking, burglary, stolen vehicles and catalytic converter theft were non-Newark residents.
“These cameras that capture the data as they flee our city are important,” Macias told the council.
Titled “How Does Technology Prevent and Eliminate Crime?” Presenting a digital slide about cameras. Macias said as more cases are solved and awareness of the cameras grows, they will “act as a deterrent to future crimes.”
But in an interview, Macias said she “cannot assure” that the use of cameras will reduce post-use crime, “although I very much hope that will act as a deterrent,” she said.
The Newark Police Department does not have metrics or statistics to determine if cameras are effective and successful, although Macias said the department will consider it.
“Obviously I hope they will reduce crime, but they are kept not only for crime reduction but also for other police investigations. They’re for missing people and things like that,” he said.
The bookmaker said part of its concern stemmed from Fremont’s experience with license plate readers.
“Fremont has had security cameras for a long time, and the crime rate has increased over the years. When I was told that these cameras would reduce crime, I was a bit more skeptical. In theory it sounds good, but in practice it’s not entirely accurate,” Bookie said.
“Some claims were made at that meeting that almost guaranteed crime would go down, and I don’t think so yet,” he said.
The bookmaker also asked that Flock’s contract be suspended until the city council can hold a public hearing to assess its police department’s policy on license plate readers. The current policy was drafted in 2011, Macias said, and regulates how long police retain data from license plate readers and which agencies can and cannot see the data. .
Macias said that while the Swarm system only stores data from cameras on its servers for 30 days, current police policy allows the city to keep the data for a year.
“They require us to invest in surveillance and I guess I’ll see the guidelines later. And it’s really like putting the cart before the horse,” the bookie said at the meeting.
But a majority of the council rejected the bookmaker and approved the contract.
“I don’t want the council to discuss and debate what I think are internal police policies,” Hannon said. “That’s why we’re hiring you, Chief,” he told Police Commissioner Gina Anderson.
Negi said he believes in the integrity of the police department and that the police will “do the right thing” with the data.
“If you have a license plate but you’re not doing anything wrong, don’t worry. If you have a license plate and you’re doing something wrong, you should be concerned,” Nagy said. Said.
In an interview, the bookmaker questioned Negi’s statements.
“I think history has proven that’s absolutely not true, and it certainly isn’t true for many underrepresented communities who might disagree with that statement,” he said.
“I don’t know why we need to store data on people like the mayor or anyone else who hasn’t been charged within a year and outside of the city,” he said.
Macias said cameras could go off in late August or early September. He said police plan to bring the license plate reader guidelines back to the council for review on September 8.
The cameras will not go live until the policy is approved, Macias said.