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An Open Letter to the Mayor and Council for the City of Sacramento
As a resident of the City of Sacramento who has continuously stood before you begging, crying, pleading for you to address the violence, which has left our children dead on Sacramento city streets or leaving Sacramento to become the walking dead in California prisons, I have several questions regarding your position on surveillance cameras.
In regards to Sacramento Press article: Police Working on Surveillance System
Within the article it states: “There are many factors that will determine where the cameras will be placed...Among those factors are crime rates, crime trends, special events and areas that may present a threat to public safety. The fixed cameras will be placed based upon recommendations from City Council, the Police Department, and the availability of existing infrastructure.”
Instead of planting seeds of employment, resources, opportunities in crime areas the City of Sacramento decides to continue to plant weeds of surveillance cameras? Why haven't you used the factors of crime rates, crime trends, special events, scientific based, researched based, evidence based studies to determine where to place resources for those affected/ exposed to crime/ violence?
Are you planning on placing the cameras in low income communities?
When the City of Sacramento held the closed-door-away-from-the public-discussion- on where the cameras would be placed did you even once consider if the area is in need of surveillance cameras then it must be in need of resources, opportunities, employment for the residents of that area?
So, the City of Sacramento had the time, energy, resources to have a discussion among themselves on how to arrest people but has YET to have a discussion among themselves and with the public on the needs, other than suppression, of those same areas? You can't have a discussion on crime prevention other than law enforcement funding but you can discuss where to place cameras due to crime?
Will the cameras be placed in Oak Park, Meadowview, Valley Hi, North Sacramento? If you felt the need for the cameras in those areas why have you never felt the need for a Boys & Girls Club in those same areas? Why have you never felt the need to hold a Council session to address crime in those areas? Did money -a grant- have to become available for you to value the life or freedom of City youth?
Their are no Boys & Girls clubs...in Valley Hi, Meadowview, Oak Park, North Sacramento but their is crime so instead of resources those areas get cameras in an ignorant, ineffective attempt to arrest away crime?
Surely you're not ignorant to think this is in any way a solution to crime prevention for the city of Sacramento. Their are surveillance cameras at schools, stores, gas stations, regional transit, malls, on police units, businesses, cameras within the Department of Human Assistance which capture images a block away and crime has not decreased.
We see surveillance criminal activity images on the Sheriffs site, media releases stating "Do you know these thieves?" surely you can't think placing additional surveillance cameras will significantly address violence in our city. Ask the District Attorney's office how many cases they are prosecuting due to surveillance footage? It doesn't appear the District Attorney's office case load has decreased due to surveillance cameras.
It doesn't appear our jails have become less crowded due to surveillance cameras? It doesn't appear surveillance cameras significantly prevents crime. Lots of not-so-bright often under educated and living in communities lacking resources, employment, opportunities commit crimes. It appears surveillance cameras merely aid in arrest / prosecution but the crime goes on. Will you create a balance and give us employment, opportunities, resources in the same areas you place cameras?
You can not pacify a community affected and exposed to crime by merely placing surveillance cameras in their communities and call it crime prevention. You can not silence our cries as you shift crime away from one area (the area with a camera) and move it to another area (the area without a camera). How long will you continue to shift crime instead of looking at avenues to prevent it?
Do you plan to continue to let this cancerous polyp of violence in Sacramento break off and spread to other streets and bodies of Sacramento area youth and families? As it is our cries echo from one Sacramento neighborhood to another due to the city decades long neglect of addressing youth violence with employment and opportunites.
Since it is obvious many of you were looking at money- a grant of $615.000- and not at the people will you NOW have the discussion on how you plan to prevent crime?
If you place surveillance cameras in areas affected by crime/ violence and do not place employment, opportunities, resources in those same areas you are doing no more than rounding people up as cattle and milking the County of Sacramento of Social services programs. The City of Sacramento will become a contributing factor in the County of Sacramento taking away programs, services, opportunites for the needy to fund Sheriff, District Attorney, Probation, Courts.
Your surveillance cameras will aid in the County budgets being monopolized with suppression rather than services for the mentally ill, poor, and needy.
Do you plan on planting seeds of empowerment in the same areas you plan on weeding out people with cameras for incarceration? In the May 28, 2009 SN&R 'Surveillance City' article, SPD Sgt Norm Leong stated, "It’s free money, why wouldn’t you take it?” Is that why cameras are gong up because it's free money?
Are you looking at money or looking at the people affected/ imposed to crime? When will you look at life, freedom, prevention verses grants and money for suppression? Have City residents, affected/ exposed to crime, become a Sacramento City Commodity?
Cities have received Homeland security grants for over 6 years (http://www.newsreview.com/chico/content?oid=31334 ) have you spoken with the cities and asked how or if the surveillance cameras reduced crime or were you just looking at money and not the people?
Many of us know you value grants but when will you value LIFE and FREEDOM for city youth?
I hope you can or will answer the questions listed in this letter at the next city council session.
Related articles on Homeland security grants:
http://www.newsreview.com/reno/content?oid=42502 Homeland Pork
http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=998297 Surveillance City
"The ALCU has for years produced studies showing that surveillance cameras don’t prevent crime. In fact, according to an ACLU survey of crime statistics in San Francisco, crime actually increased overall at locations where public-surveillance cameras were installed."
http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/snog/blogs?date=2009-09-01 City Council Humors ACLU but won't slow down on Surveillance Scheme