Commentary: Power of partnership: How the ‘eye’ works

The camera on Fifth Street and Monterey Road in downtown

It’s unique. A private-public partnership that results in
increased watchful eyes and crime control in the Downtown Gilroy
area.
In our research, this is one of the first examples of community
activism that resulted in the placement of a camera on the corner
of Fifth and Monterey streets. So how will this uniqueness decrease
crime and increase the perception that Downtown Gilroy is safe?
Editor’s note: This editorial was written by the Leadership Gilroy Class of 2011.The class visited the Dispatch Friday morning to get hands-on experience working as reporters, photographers, videographers, editors and page designers.

It’s unique. A private-public partnership that results in increased watchful eyes and crime control in the Downtown Gilroy area.

In our research, this is one of the first examples of community activism that resulted in the placement of a camera on the corner of Fifth and Monterey streets. So how will this uniqueness decrease crime and increase the perception that Downtown Gilroy is safe?

The Editorial Board, in conversation with Police Chief Denise Turner, learned that the cameras will hopefully assist in improving the response time of the Gilroy Police Department and aid as a watchful eye that downtown is safe. The cameras are serving as one tool amongst the arsenal that will work together with Gilroy’s existing downtown collaborative efforts.

Some questions have been raised regarding privacy. What about public access to this videotape that the city will store for a year? The city will be working in accordance with the Public Records Act and the Sunshine Act, according to Chief Turner, to help the community to gain access as appropriate. Is that enough to combat the critics that say the camera violates an individual’s civil rights to privacy? Ask the agencies which have been involved from the beginning. It is impressive that the number of agencies that have worked together, among them the Downtown Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Visitors Bureau and area social service agencies.

Concerns also have been raised about the technical infrastructure of the cameras and whether fiber optics will be needed to fully reach the intended capabilities of the project. As the project continues, the IT issues have been addressed and the platform for this project is fully expandable. For now, CrimeReports.com can provide community members with accurate information about crime statistics in the Gilroy community. The Editorial Board urges community members to continue to research information about crime statistics and to contribute to the positive efforts from the city, business owners and the community that the downtown area is safe. Critical thinking amongst collaborative partners is important for the safety of our community and this is what has always made Gilroy unique.

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