To catch the alleged serial arsonist who plagued downtown San Jose earlier this month, police relied on surveillance footage shared by residents to identify the suspect. Councilman Sam Liccardo is using that incident as a pitch to convince the public to submit their security camera footage to a central database monitored by law enforcement.
“An opportunity exists here to leverage the collective efforts of our residents,” Liccardo said last week, when announcing the plan that heads to the Rules and Open Government Committee this afternoon. “Residents can already do this in some cities. It’s a project with minimal effort that could yield big savings of time, energy and public safety.”
Voluntarily submitting surveillance footage to police would spare them the effort of doing the legwork to find residents and ask permission to see the video, Liccardo says.
There’s a similar program in Los Gatos, where police can view footage from cameras registered with the city.
A Santa Clara University professor of applied ethics told NBC that Liccardo’s idea is a little too “Big Brother,” a little tone deaf in an age of government spying and growing privacy concerns.
“Could have had the Summer of Love with cameras taping everything?” Irina Raicu told the TV news station. “If there’s a virtual eye in every public square, making a perfect transcript of everything you say, you’re not going to get the same amount of communication.”
• Councilman Xavier Campos wants to raise taxes to pay for more police officers. Calling it a “difficult decision for the betterment of our city,” the East Side councilman says implementing a half-cent sales tax is the only option left to restore public safety services after budget cuts forced the city to shrink its police force from 1,400 to less than 1,000. The tax would cost up to $900,000 to place on the ballot and generate an estimated $70 million in revenue.
• Wild pigs continue to wreak havoc in Councilman Johnny Khamis’ Almaden Valley district, he says. So he’s asking the city to extend an emergency ordinance passed in November that allows trappers to shoot the landscape-wrecking feral boar. Without this measure, it’s illegal to fire a weapon within city limits. When the ordinance first came before the City Council last fall, Khamis noted that he’s not out for a bloodbath, just to save his constituents the pain of re-landscaping a rooted-up yard.
“It’s not my intention to go out and commit a pig genocide,” he said. “I’m only here to make sure the public is not harmed by these very bold group of animals.”
• City critic David Wall harps on San Jose for what he calls “piss poor management issues” when it comes to capital improvements at the Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant.
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meet
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260