The Piedmont City Council is set to decide Monday night whether to add automated license-plate-reading cameras at four more intersections within this small city completely surrounded by Oakland, and replace existing cameras at a fifth location. The total cost would be $113,358.
Piedmont now has 39 cameras serving 15 intersections and/or entry points into the city from Oakland. These additional cameras have been under discussion for months.
In February, City Council members praised their cameras for their role in helping solve two fairly recent home-invasion robberies. On Jan. 24, 2018 three armed men ransacked a house on Lorita Avenue; Piedmont’s license plate-reading cameras provided evidence that led to positive identification of the suspects’ car. And after a Jan. 12, 2019 home invasion on Scenic Avenue, in which three men rang the doorbell of a house on Scenic Avenue, pushed to the ground a young boy who opened the door, and then robbed the house. Police said the city’s plate-reading cameras helped police detectives identify potential suspects in that crime.
Monday night’s vote comes six days after the Richmond City Council voted 5-2 to not renew its contract with Vigilant Solutions of Livermore to process the information gathered by that city’s cameras. Council members feared the data could be shared with federal immigration authorities to track down undocumented residents; Vigilant Solutions has a contract with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but Richmond police Chief Allwyn Brown told that city’s council that the information generated by local cameras is shared only with other local police agencies.