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City-wide Video Surveillance Camera Project
City-wide Video Surveillance Camera Project

The Fremont Police Department is continually interested in fully utilizing technology in an effort to protect our community.   On June 17, 2014, the Police Department received approval from the Fremont City Council to allocate funds for a community-based video surveillance camera project in the City of Fremont. In March of 2016, the first camera was installed at the freeway on-ramp at Stevenson Blvd. and northbound I880.  To date, a total of ten camera systems, which include Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR), have been installed and are functional.  The locations are listed below.

The framework for the program was to place fixed cameras and license plate reader cameras at exit points to our City.  Statistics show the majority of offenders who commit the most serious crimes in our City are not Fremont residents.  Using this information, our initial emphasis of the program was to focus on the City’s exit points, affording the greatest likelihood of capturing images of suspects, their vehicles, and their license plates.

In mid- 2018, the Department received a grant and is in the process of obtaining four solar powered mobile camera systems that could be used at community events.

ALPR Cameras


In addition to the ALPR cameras installed as part of the community video program described above, the Department also has a mobile APLR camera installed in a vehicle as well as a trailer.  ALPR cameras are not new to the City.  In the early 2000's the Department had one ALPR system in a patrol vehicle and tested a second system.  Due to the quality of the technology, the Department never expanded the program and stopped using the systems.  In June of 2018, four ALPR systems were purchased for patrol vehicles and we are in the process of seeking funds to equip an additional five patrol vehicles, which would give us one in each zone on each shift, for full City coverage.   

Background

The Fremont Police Department is committed to preventing criminals from impacting our city.  In this regard, the Police Department seeks to quickly apprehend suspects, minimizing their ability to further victimize our community.  To meet this end, the Police Department has deployed several strategies, to include focusing on serious and habitual offenders, increased two-way communication with the community, and encouraging use of home and commercial video surveillance.
 
Fremont's residential burglary rate decreased by 27% from 2012 to 2013 and although this reduction is significant and makes our community safer, we believe we can do more.  The Fremont Police Department believes the use of video surveillance on public roadways in key areas will further lower crime rates through the expedient apprehension of suspects who commit crimes in our city.  The proposal for the initial phase was to place video surveillance cameras and license plate readers at some of the city’s most commonly traveled entry and/or exit points.   This affords the greatest likelihood of capturing an image of suspects, their vehicles, and their license plates as they enter or leave the city.  

In taking this step, the City and the Police Department are respectful of the privacy interests at issue when personal information is collected, and we take our responsibility to preserve privacy very seriously.   Video recordings are stored on a secure server at the Fremont Police Department, where they are saved for 30 days before being purged.  Video will only be saved for longer than 30 days if it is evidence in a specific crime.  License plate reader data will be stored for one year, likely made available to other law enforcement agencies through data sharing agreements and utilized in compliance with all federal, state and local laws.  Similarly,
license plate reader data will only be retained for longer than one year if it is evidence in a specific crime.

The program has been successful to date identifying suspects in crimes and the Police Department believes the use of video surveillance on public roadways in key areas will continue to lower crime rates through the expedient apprehension of suspects who commit crimes in our City.


Community Outreach

Prior to requesting funding for the community video program in 2015, the Department conducted a survey through the City's Open City Hall to ask residents how they felt about the proposal.  Nearly 400 community members responded to the survey with a nearly 85% saying they were very supportive.  Since the systems were installed two additional community meetings have been held, along with a third meeting regarding the joint Police/Fire Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (Drone) program.  The most recent meeting titled, Leveraging Technology for Public Safety, was held in September of 2018 and can be viewed via webcast

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Camera Locations:

  • Northbound Fremont Boulevard @ Enea Terrace
  • Westbound Decoto Road @ Northbound I880
  • Northbound Mowry Blvd @ Northbound I880
  • Westbound Stevenson Blvd @ Northbound I880
  • Southbound Ardenwood Blvd @ Westbound 84
  • Northbound Mission Blvd @ Washington Blvd
  • Southbound Mission Blvd @ Paseo Padre Pkwy
  • Eastbound Auto Mall Pkwy @ Southbound I880
  • Northbound Mission Blvd @ Veneto Ave
  • Westbound Thornton Ave @ Dondero Way
The Department is currently evaluating the need to place additional cameras at new locations. 

Additional City Owned/Operated Camera:
  • 2000 Stevenson Blvd - captures traffic in the eastbound direction of Stevenson Blvd as well as the Police Department's Exchange Zone in the front parking lot.

Original Project Scope:

  • Installation of 10 community based video surveillance cameras at entry and/or exit points of the city and mobile cameras that could be used at events and to investigate crime in hot spots.
  • Cameras have only be installed along and directed toward public roadways.
  • The fixed cameras are not continuously monitored and will only be utilized for investigative purposes.
  • The cameras are equipped with license plate reader technology that digitally reads the license plates of vehicles passing the camera.  License plate readers have been used by our Department in the past and throughout the country as an effective way to locate vehicles involved in crimes.  License plate readers, like video, can drastically decrease the time it takes to locate suspects and vehicles associated to criminal activity. The Department is currently in the process of obtaining a mobile license plate reader that could be moved to different locations throughout the City in response to crime trends.

Community Camera and Automated License Plate Reader Policies:

Fremont Police Community Camera Policy

Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) Policy

In the News

Link to original project article.
Recent San Francisco Chronicle article