Golden Beach, Fla., Considers City Surveillance System

The town of Golden Beach is looking into purchasing a security camera system for the oceanfront community.

Depending on which proposal the town adopts, Golden Beach could have nearly 50 cameras stationed in the 1.8-mile-long town.

At the town's regular meeting Oct. 19, council members reviewed proposals from two security firms: Navarro Technical Services, the Fort Lauderdale-based company that provides security for the town's guardhouse, and Turnkey Communications Services, which is based in North Miami.

Turnkey's $76,714 proposal calls for the installation of 49 cameras.

Navarro submitted a bid of $67,738 for 25 cameras.

Council members unanimously agreed that more research was needed to determine the number and the location of the cameras, and whether the cameras would be positioned on the sides of buildings or on poles, and whether Golden Beach should have a digitally based system versus a cable system.

"We have to compare apples to apples," Councilman Glenn Singer said as council members thought over the proposals.

The security camera system is one of a handful of proposals residents are considering to increase security for the town's 900 residents. There have also been suggestions to require nonresidents who work in Golden Beach to wear ID badges, and to restrict access to beach bathrooms.

Next month, the town's security committee plans to distribute a security survey that would seek residents' opinions about the level of safety they feel on streets and in parks, and to acquire their opinions about the security camera system.

Crime is low in Golden Beach. In 2001, there were six burglaries and 13 larceny counts. In 2002, there were 12 larceny counts and one auto theft.

There were no murders, rapes, robberies or assaults.

"We have a very good police department and security company. I don't feel like the town is unsafe," said Town Manager Bonilyn Wilbanks-Free. But she added that there can never be enough security.

At the council meeting, concerns were raised about how much maintenance the cameras would need because of their steady exposure to salt from the ocean, and whether the system had backup power in case of a storm.

Police Chief James Skinner added that the camera system needed to be accessible from patrol vehicles, as well as from a remote location in the case of a hurricane evacuation.

The council asked Wilbanks-Free to get two to three quotes from security consultants to make suggestions about the town's security camera needs. That cost, council members instructed, should be capped at $10,000.