On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council approved a community camera system to be placed at 18th Street and A Street in the City of Antioch.
The system will include cameras from Odin Systems ($21,498.43) and Vigilant Solutions ($102,339.94) and I.C.R. Electric ($18,633).
Antioch Police Lt. Fortner explained to the council how much of an asset the cameras had been in solving crime and why they were recommending the expansion to the intersection of A Street at E 18th. Fortner noted the cameras would help the residents and businesses feel a sense of security while serving as a crime deterrent and crime solving tool for the police department.
These are the same cameras being utilized in the City of Brentwood and City of Pittsburg.
Meanwhile, the Antioch Police Department has license plate reader cameras at Sycamore Drive corridor, Cavallo Road at E 18th, and Lone Tree Way at Deer Valley which Fortner said have been helpful in recovery of stolen/wanted vehicles and solve numerous critical criminal cases and locate dangerous wanted subjects. Video is also used in cases or against claims against the city.
Fortner further highlighted the license plate reader assisted police in solving two homicides in the area of Cavallo and E 18th.
Crime data was also provided which highlighted that within a half-mile radius of A Street and E 18th, they had 308 reported crimes (PART 1) and that the area consistently creates a high volume of service with more than 5,775 calls for service last year. He said within 1-mile radius, the numbers jumped to 887 part 1 crimes and 18,000 calls for service.
Antioch currently has community cameras at the following locations:
- Knoll Park
- City Hall
- Community Park
- Community Center
- Antioch Water and Skate Park
- Sycamore Drive Corridor
- Cavallo at East 18th.
During council discussion, Councilmember Tamisha Torres-Walker stated that the area they are talking about placing the camera has a lack of services and is under/over policed at the same time.
“To live in a community that is already hyper-surveyed under/over policed at the same time as well as which seems like an intentional like of services, support, intervention and prevention. In lieu of intervention, prevention, programs, services and support, we just over survey the community, over/under police the community and no real solution for safety,” explained Torres-Walker.
She continued by stating cameras and police do not deter violence.
“They might capture an incident, but they don’t deter violence. Just like law enforcement doesn’t deter violence. They show up after a harm has been committed,” stated Torres-Walker. “The most cameras in this city are in the community that has the least resources and support and its mind blowing to me that the community we are denying resources, we want to continue to over survey and over/under police and I think it’s nonsense tinkering around the edges rather than get into the root cause of crime in our community and that is why I will not be supporting it.”
The council made no other comments.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Lamar Thorpe stated he appreciated what Torres-Walker was saying and the approach in the past has been different by asking the police department to solve all the problems—homelessness, mental health, surveillance—and never about better equipping the community to deal with community balance.
“The conversation around school resource officers, had you asked other members of our community and not just the Chief of Police a group of very specific parents of Deer Valley High School, the solution to some of the issues that we were experiencing at the time may have had a different conversation,” stated Thorpe. “That has been our approach but from my perspective there is going to be a commitment in really looking at violence solutions that are community led moving forward.”
Thorpe noted these are very “huge” expenditures and District 1 who bares the brunt of all this surveillance and all the police along with lack of resources.
“Not only from the city, but also the county. So I recognize and I think we are heading in a different direction going forward,” stated Thorpe.
The item passed in two 4-1 vote with Torres-Walker dissenting.