Alki Community Council board to discuss police-surveillance cameras Thursday night

February 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm | In Seattle Police surveillance cameras, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

(Camera installation across from Salty’s, on inland side of the street)
We promised we would publish this separately as soon as we confirmed the information: As noted during our live reporting on this afternoon’s City Council committee discussion of the Seattle Police-led, federally funded surveillance cameras, one of the key people on the project, SPD’s Det. Monty Moss, is coming to Alki for a meeting tomorrow night. We have confirmed with organizers that it’s the Alki Community Council‘s board meeting, 7 pm at Alki UCC (62nd/Hinds), and while it’s not an official public hearing, nor a town-hall meeting (SPD promises “big” meetings at some point in the future), the public is welcome.

26 Comments

  1. Oh, hello, Big Brother.
    Thank you for watching over me, so tenderly and lovingly…it’s so reassuring to know I’m never out of your warm and loving umbrella of concern.
    Who needs to believe in “God” when your steely, omnipresent gaze blankets our city?
    (Irony, lost on the supporters of government survellience, who, for the most part, detest the government and purport to trust in a benevolent god to protect them.)

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 7:43 pm February 20, 2013 #

  2. Please show up and share your thoughts on the subject. It’s important that we try.

    Comment by Ordinary_Citizen — 8:29 pm February 20, 2013 #

  3. So, what exactly is the discussion expected to achieve…the cameras are already installed and shoved down our throats. Should we anticipate the removal of cameras if we yell loud enough???

    Comment by alki resident — 10:12 pm February 20, 2013 #

  4. No one, yet, has been able to explain to me without emotion how these cameras, in a public place, invade (your) privacy?

    Comment by WTF — 10:14 pm February 20, 2013 #

  5. Sometimes, WTF it is important to fight things based on principle. If they can put cameras at the port, where will they show up next? I am generally not paranoid about “big brother” but I gotta say, these cameras freak me out.

    Comment by Kgdlg — 10:48 pm February 20, 2013 #

  6. They keep talking about port security but the conversation seems to drift to other capabilities the police can have like identifying criminal activity. How do you identify criminal activity? Can you imagine reading a book on a bench within the camera’s range and think they don’t zoom in to what you are reading? Perhaps someone might think you could be doing something suspicious? Who makes that call when a private contractor is operating the equipment?

    Comment by Ordinary_Citizen — 11:44 pm February 20, 2013 #

  7. Hey at least they could watch the huge sewage leak
    Can we fix some real problems around here instead of spend big $$$ over imaginary terrorists

    Comment by Jeff platt — 12:06 am February 21, 2013 #

  8. Although I agree that stating the installation is for “terrorist watch” seems a but dramatic, I would gladly give up my (public privacy) for even an off chance this medium could have helped solve the recent Beach Drive murder.

    Comment by WTF — 7:22 am February 21, 2013 #

  9. Jeff Platt is right. There are too many other social concerns that need to be taken care of before money is blown on this bizarre joke.

    Comment by Stark — 9:07 am February 21, 2013 #

  10. Poor police. They’re danged if they do and danged if they don’t . As a long time resident of Alki I know how often the community and council decry perceived lack of attention and crime solving. Well they’ve done something to meet the demand of the community. No fair crying foul. ( but surely they don’t need the camera across from my place. My car has only been broken into once)

    Comment by RenĂ© — 10:53 am February 21, 2013 #

  11. @WTF –
    Being in a public, I do not expect privacy, but that should not equate to constant surveillence either. The cameras have the ability of 310 degrees of rotation meaning the field of view of these cameras go beyond the range of public property and into private property.

    The cameras were part of a 5 million dollar grant from department of homeland security… I think this is a poor use of the funds. The cameras were purchased and installed without city council knowing anything about it until recently. According the Nick Licata he learned of the cameras right here on WSB.

    Is SPD ignoring or skirting bill 116225 and and 116975. Is our Coast Guard so inept? I am not opposed to the security of our ports but am baffled by the locations of these cameras and the methods used. I wonder why these cameras could not of been installed on some of the boatway signs on the sound, they are wireless and would give more accurate/clear pictures of our waterway. Lastly, will the camera feeds be public similary to that of DOT?

    Comment by B_B — 11:26 am February 21, 2013 #

  12. @Rene – Don’t confuse surveillance of waterways with that of crime solving in the community.

    Surveillance breeds police complacency and should not be substituted for community involvement

    Comment by B_B — 11:41 am February 21, 2013 #

  13. Maybe this is a silly question, but hopefully someone can answer it. When SPD begins their presentation about its surveillance camera project, the guy gives a big spiel about how Seattle is the 6th largest port in the world, and all that. (I think we all understand that bad stuff can be smuggled unseen into the port in cargo containers, etc.) And then he goes on to say that this isn’t just another SPD project… they have partners – Metro, the Fire Dept., the Coast Guard. So here’s my question: Is it just me, or doesn’t it seem a wee bit weird that the Port of Seattle isn’t participating in this project? Perhaps someone can explain this to all of us that find this project a little “rough around the edges.” I think they applied for a grant with a half-baked notion targeted at the grant’s criteria, and when they actually scored the great they didn’t really know what to do with it. The SPD is like the dog that chased the bus and didn’t know what to do when he caught it. I think the civic wireless network provided by the grant is fine, but let’s get rid of the cameras in residential neighborhoods. And again, if this is so great, why didn’t the Port buy into it?

    Comment by LongtimeResident — 12:01 pm February 21, 2013 #

  14. Hey if you’re not doing anything wrong then what’s the matter with the cameras? I feel if they can “catch” no gooder’s with these cameras then YAHOO!

    Comment by nemobeansmom — 12:57 pm February 21, 2013 #

  15. So where do they sit and look through the cameras from? Anyone know?

    Comment by toodles — 1:29 pm February 21, 2013 #

  16. @LongtimeResident, no it’s not silly. I feel the same way. Where is the Port on all this? (Do they even know?) it seems like a front. Kimerer starts with the Port but then Monty talks about its ‘benefit’ to make other arrests. Maybe they call it “collateral benefits”. I started on just having questions now I have a definite unease, to put it lightly. It sounds like they eventually want to watch the port from California Ave.

    Comment by Ordinary_Citizen — 1:56 pm February 21, 2013 #

  17. @Ordinary_Citizen, I am amazed people aren’t noticing things like the Port’s lack of involvement. I’m sure they must’ve been asked. How could SPD not try to partner with them when protection of the Port of Seattle is supposedly the underlying reason for the whole project? It does seem like the Port is a Trojan Horse that that SPD is using to ride into our personal daily lives. I’m on camera at work, in the stores and downtown. Can’t they just leave me alone when I’m in my own neighborhood and, for God’s sake, in my own living room, where the camera is a constantly visible presence???

    Comment by LongtimeResident — 2:51 pm February 21, 2013 #

  18. @nemobeansmom

    The problem with the idea of nothing to hide is that it becomes and expectation that you and I need to constatly proove that we are good citizens. The assuumption becomes that we are not.

    Would you not prefer a community that works on the idea of its people living with dignity?

    Comment by B_B — 2:58 pm February 21, 2013 #

  19. @B-B I would love for our community to live with dignity and respect for one another but let’s be real…and if these cameras catch the the no gooders then I’m for it.

    And I have nothing to “prove” my Dad raised me to respect and do unto others as I would want them to do unto me.

    Comment by nemobeansmom — 4:38 pm February 21, 2013 #

  20. I wonder if the cameras will solve anything. I had my bikes stolen from my back yard, a few months ago, so I installed security cameras.
    The cameras were doing their job. Nothing stolen from the backyard….(just a car from the front.)
    The cameras were accidentally unplugged three days ago. We realized it when we saw that, can you guess? two more bikes were stolen from the backyard. That makes 5 total. The bike cable had been cut. The thief left the padlock intact. Gosh. Thank you, scum.

    So. Lets recap: no cameras=3 bikes stolen.
    Cameras on for months=0 bikes stolen.
    Cameras off for three days=2 bikes stolen.

    I bought this house near Alki beach one year ago. I’m now A-ok with security cameras in public places. Thanks, thieves. Now I don’t trust anyone. I just hate you, and I wish you had been brought up right. We all have to suffer under the “eye” because of you.

    Comment by BB — 8:13 pm February 21, 2013 #

  21. Furthermore, where are the Port of Seattle Police in all this?

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 2:37 am February 22, 2013 #

  22. bad bad bad, we just need more of a police presence and should be good enough

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 5:48 am February 22, 2013 #

  23. As a West Seattle and Alki resident, I find this very alarming. I understand the inclination to attempt to prevent crime or solve crimes more quickly, but this is a slippery slope. There are governments that have security cameras throughout urban areas supposedly to prevent crime, but those cameras are often used to instead monitor civillians. I do not want security enough to sacrifice my liberty. I find this concerning and a threat to my privacy. I oppose surveillance cameras on Alki or elsewhere.

    Comment by Autumn — 5:15 pm February 22, 2013 #

  24. @BB –

    I encourage you to film your private property on your private property. I am also sorry about your bikes. I have had mine stolen also, from a secure building, with cameras. My bikes were stolen while living downtown Seattle. A few weeks later while on my lunch break I noticed my bike locked up near the old Elliot bay Book Co. I waited and confronted the person… I now ride that bike on alki.

    For every study / experience that cameras help / deter you will find one that cameras do not and that they breed complacency and give police a reason not to be involved and present in the community.

    Before living in Seattle I lived in another large city. A little over 20 years ago my second job was working at a very popular record store similar to Easy Street… Late one night near closing myself and co-worker were held-up at gun point. Guess what was right behind me? A camera. Crime was never solved. Camera and the potential punishment of getting caught for the crime did not deter or outweigh the need a person felt to engage in criminal behavior.

    In my experience cameras are only a symptom, a poorly placed band- aid on a deep wound of a much bigger problem that 5 million dollars (surveillance grant) could of started to address and do not strike at the root of the problem

    Comment by B_B — 7:54 am February 23, 2013 #

  25. What surprises me is that no one seems to be even questioning the fact that Seattle spent 5 MILLION dollars to install only 30 cameras. Are you kidding me? That is more than $166,000 EACH! No wonder the government is running up a huge debt! People need to demand explanations of this, and all of the other BLOATED contracts that companies are receiving. Yes, privacy concerns are important, as are safety concerns, but I think the main concern should be to find out who is lining their pockets with taxpayer dollars.

    Comment by Pat M. — 9:06 am March 10, 2013 #

  26. Pat – The $5 million also includes the “wireless mesh” communications system, to which the cameras are attached.

    Comment by WSB — 9:32 am March 10, 2013 #

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