Pittsburg, Calif., Steps up City's Surveillance

There are a few more eyes in the sky.

After success with cameras placed throughout the city to deter dumping and other crime, the city will add five more.

The new cameras will be placed at the city corporation yard, Buchanan Park and the intersections of School and Harbor streets, 10th Street and Railroad Avenue, and Alvarado and Railroad avenues. Each camera will be covered in a vandal-resistant dome.

The City Council voted Monday to ante-up $55,000 of redevelopment money for the additional cameras to capture goings-on throughout the city. The city's general fund couldn't handle the expense, so redevelopment money was used since the cameras are being placed in the redevelopment area.

Police can sneak a peek at pedestrians and motorists throughout the city to lower crime and deter dumping.

Police Chief Aaron Baker said the cameras are an effective deterrent.

"When people know they're there it becomes a great 24-hour enforcement tool," he said.

Earlier this year, infrared-capable cameras were installed 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.

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

The monitor won't be constantly manned, but all footage will be recorded.

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

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

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

During the Monday meeting, the Council also voted to support Sen. Tom Torlakson's proposed California Delta Trail. It would connect cities by a bike and pedestrian trail.

(c) 2005 Associated Press