Boardwalk Beaters Behind Bars (and Big Brother’s Back)

Today, the LBPD confirmed more arrests related to the boardwalk beating, and further confirmed that some of those arrested for the attack and robbery on the 17th were also involved in the beating on the 19th.

So, that total number of arrests is up to eight, good job LBPD.  Hopefully, these arrests and the strong response from the LBPD well put a stop to this outbreak of violence.

In an interesting addition, the LB Police Commissioner Sofield Senior said that “plans are in the works to create a system in which cameras will monitor the entire boardwalk 24 hours, seven days a week.”

“This video monitoring system will not replace but enhance all the measures that are currently in place to protect our citizens and visitors on the boardwalk.”

That caught me completely by surprise.  Obviously, I’ve been a huge advocate of an increased police presence on the boardwalk (I was thrilled when I saw stepped-up patrols), but I don’t think cameras are the way to go.

I’m not necessarily worried about the Big Brother privacy angle of cameras on the boardwalk, I’m more concerned with two things more tangible issues:  cost and usefulness.

First off, camera systems are really expensive, and then, someone still needs to watch the cameras for them to be at all proactive.  So, you pay for the cameras, you pay for their upkeep, and then you still pay for a body to watch the cameras’ footage.  You don’t save on manpower, and you certainly don’t save with all the operational costs of maintaining a system like this that will be buffeted by Nor’Easters and hurricanes year-round.  Further, Sofield Senior himself says that the cameras aren’t designed to replace current security measures, so how do they really help?

The second part, and more to the issue of crime itself, is that integrated security systems have proven to be borderline useless in major cities.  In Chicago for instance, a city where millions have been spent to build and integrate 10,000 cameras, over four years they only led to 4,500 arrests.  “Whoa” you may say, “that’s a lot of arrests.”  Well, in Chicago, 4,500 arrests equates to less than 1% of all arrests.  And remember, they also say “led to arrests,” not “prevented crime.”  Cameras are not crime preventers, and have a bad track record of even helping to make arrests.

Cameras may help you sleep at night, but they don’t stop crime.

My solution?  What the LBPD has already figured out.  One officer on a motorcycle cruising the boardwalk at night.  Seemingly, when this story was hot, it was no challenge to find an officer in blue that was up to the job.  They don’t even need to be there every night, all night.  Occasional patrols – or keeping an officer on a short leash near the boardwalk is also a capable crime preventer.  People knowing that the boardwalk is often patrolled will achieve the same effect as always patrolling it.

What do you think: Cameras or Cops?

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22 thoughts on “Boardwalk Beaters Behind Bars (and Big Brother’s Back)”

  1. I’m with you Shaun. Cameras don’t really deter crime. Though they can come in handy after the fact with pictures of the perps, etc. But as far stopping crime, I don’t think they do much. You know what deters crime? Cops walking the beat. Nothing keeps potential criminals in line like uniformed police officers walking around keeping the peace. My understanding is that’s how NYC lowered its crime rate and raised its quality of life. I like that they are doing that here and I hope they keep it up.

  2. What’s interesting is the numbers don’t actually even support the idea that cameras help lead to arrests (in any statistical significant way). Sure, you’ll hear one off examples that a camera caught a criminal in the act here and there, but those are the exceptions, as cities like Chicago, NY, and London have proved.

    There is no replacement for good police work, and no shortcuts.

  3. I’d rather see the cops on bikes than motorcycles so they could hear and see things better. I wish they would patrol the West End in the same manner. Walking the beat or riding a bike is, in my opinion, how you stop crime. You can get the feel of what is going on, talk to people, etc…Theres 80 cops on the payroll, not sure why some dont do the job outside a car or office.

  4. Cops with GoPro cameras on their helmets!!!

    On a Mountain Bike (quiet), Enduro Motorcycle (fast) or Skate Board (keeps them in shape)!

    One LBPD Smart-car for the boardwalk?!!

    Just some ideas…

  5. Problem is that instead of actually patrolling they are either parked on the ramp to the boardwalk on Edwards, or they are giving someone a ticket for being on the beach after 11pm. How about a patrol that actual patrols with the intent of deterring crime and not handing out tickets??

  6. Obviously, I’ve been a huge advocate of an increased police presence on the boardwalk (I was thrilled when I saw stepped-up patrols), but I don’t think cameras are the way to go
    ====================
    never happy – you must live a frustrating life

    First off, camera systems are really expensive
    ==================
    as expensive as a cop?

  7. Ha – I’m always happy! I’m like Buddy the Elf.
    http://youtu.be/fL9ReZ91Y8g

    Cameras cost money. Maintaining cameras cost money. Manning cameras cost money. And all those are new, off budget costs.

    Here’s some info on camera cost and uselessness
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/05/timessquare-cameras-idCNN0519208820100505?rpc=44

    Cops are comically expensive in this City (most with six figure salaries http://www.liherald.com/longbeach/stories/Police-approve-contract,24207?page=4&content_source=)

    But, remember, we’ve already paid for the cops and will continue to pay for the cops regardless of how they are used. There’s been no talk of cutting the police force, so those resources aren’t going anywhere (even if they are extremely expensive).

    Why not use the assets that the City has already paid for instead of spending finite resources on a technological boondoggle?

  8. ok, so when the savages that committed these horrible crimes wait for the cop to walk on down the boardwalk before jumping the next guy that comes along, you don’t think the cameras will come in handy? nah forget it, you’re right the camera’s are a bad idea

  9. I suggest call boxes at intervals along the boardwalk with blue lights like on college campuses. They can be solar powered, voice controlled to prevent false alarms and could probably qualify for federal grant money for public safety. They don’t prevent crime but discourage it.

  10. Thanks for the update. Be interesting to see if these are the right people, if they’re actually convicted and if they are rehabilitated or not (you know, the next steps in the justice system).

  11. There was a massive fight around the corner from Nebraska in the West End last night – approximately 15 people, all but maybe one were girls! 4 girls smashing each others heads in teh ground- one of them was naked top up and another was blood soaked. I called the police and it took them 7 minutes to get down there. They broke up – 4 or so walking onto the beach at Arizona and the rest split up between Nebraska and down towards NY. Several police vehicles passed by and went down several streets, circling around. I don’t know if any arrests were made but they knew I called the police and probably some of the neighbors did – it drew alot of attention as they were all screaming. People were looking out their front doors, like WTF is happening?
    I’d like to see more police presence in the West End. If it took that long for a response (and I completely stressed it was 15 girls pounding each other, almost like a girl gang fight) from the police, I wonder if they had no cars in the West End at that time (7:30pm). It was the oddest thing I’ve ever seen as far as fights go. I’m serious when I say it was a full force bloody beat down.

  12. In a perfect world of course, but this isn’t that. Budget resources (money) are finite and decisions have to be made. The City’s budget is already hanging on by a shoe string. You can’t just buy everything you want.

  13. Were the Long Beach Police budget not so laughable already, that would be a reasonable response. But in a City where the police are obscenely overpaid, where the marine police duplicate the services of governmental bodies, etc, etc, etc, “we don’t have the resources” isn’t an acceptable response.

    We HAVE the resources – we just chose to waste them elsewhere.

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