NBC Bay Area
Feb. 3, 2024
Berkeley City Council votes for plan to add more surveillance cameras.
The Berkeley City Council voted earlier this week on a proposal to add more surveillance cameras in the city. Pete Suratos reports.
The Berkeley City Council voted earlier this week on a proposal to add more surveillance cameras in the city.
Berkeley city councilmember Ben Bartlett says the recent incidents, targeting the elderly and women played a key role in the council’s decision this week to authorize a plan to add six surveillance cameras to the city.
They already approved 10 surveillance cameras last year to address crime. But with the city being understaffed, only one has been deployed.
The next round of cameras will be near transit stations, where Bartlett says the attacks are taking place.
“Here’s the thing, people need to know we have their back. So, we got to do something,” he said.
According to Berkeley police, total crime is down by 22% compared to last year. But assault and battery incidents are up 29%.
Oakland resident Ronnie Weiner regularly visits Berkeley and welcomes the plan for more cameras.
“As an older person, who is petrified to walk outside in Oakland by myself at night, morning and afternoon and hearing stories that Berkeley is getting to be like that,” she said.
But Berkeley small business owner Maria Blum told NBC Bay Area Thursday that she feels more surveillance could be a slippery slope.
“I have big concerns about it. I think that there’s always needs to be a system of checks and balances. And I worry about people being misidentified,” she said.
The city council says the cameras will be used solely for criminal investigations and not for continuous surveillance.
The proposal for the new cameras still needs to be reviewed by the police accountability board before the council signs off. Bartlett says the process can take anywhere from 30 days to several months.