Pittsburg, Calif. Installs Camera System

Five infrared-capable cameras that were installed earlier this year in Pittsburgh, Calif., are now fully functional.

The cameras can take a peek at pedestrians and motorists along Railroad Avenue, near Buchanan Park and at the water treatment plant on Olympia Drive near the golf course.

The $48,000 candid camera project was paid for with a local law enforcement block grant.

"I hope it will be more of a deterrent than anything else that people will know they're being watched," councilman Michael Kee said.

Initially, police officials will gauge the system capabilities and how each camera should record.

"Right now we're just looking at the capabilities and the operational aspect. So far, so good," Capt. William Zbacnik said.

Images picked up on the camera will be transmitted to a police department monitor, essentially creating 24-hour stakeouts of certain city spots.

Zbacnik said the monitor won't be constantly manned, but all the footage will be recorded.

Eventually, in conjunction with a county-wide program, the cameras will send images directly to the notebook computers in squad cars.

Zbacnik said the camera at the water treatment plant is a homeland security assessment area and that it provides a fairly good view of the entire city.

It took several weeks to prepare the sites with a power source before the cameras could be installed.

The technology will give police a sneak preview of illegal dumping in city parks, which is a problem in the city.

"We'll be able to identify who is dumping and eventually will make them less likely to come to those areas," Kee said.