Why Is a Tech Executive Installing Security Cameras Around San Francisco?
It sounds sinister. A soft-spoken cryptocurrency mogul is paying for a private network of high-definition security cameras around the city. Zoom in and you can see the finest details: the sticker on a cellphone, the make of a backpack, the color of someone’s eyes.
But in San Francisco, a city with a decades-long anti-authority streak, from hippies and pioneering gay rights activists to the techno-utopian libertarians and ultra-progressives of today, the crypto mogul has found a surprisingly receptive audience.
Here’s why: While violent crime is not high in the city, property crime is a constant headache. Anyone who lives here knows you shouldn’t leave anything — not a pile of change, not a scarf — in a parked car. Tourists visiting the city’s vistas like Twin Peaks or the famously windy Lombard Street are easy marks. The city government has struggled to solve the problem.
Come on, anyone who has seen the 1992 film Kuffs over and over (which might only be me) knows there’s already a thing that San Francisco can use that’s not exactly police: San Francisco Patrol Special Police.
San Francisco Patrol Special Police is a neighborhood police force authorized in San Francisco’s City Charter but not part of the San Francisco Police Department. They are non-sworn private patrol persons, appointed and regulated by the San Francisco Police Commission after an initial background review by the San Francisco Police Department. They are assigned to, or purchase, a specific area, or beat and charge private clients hourly rates for a variety of services.
The force has been in operation since 1847 during the California Gold Rush. By current City Code the force provides patrols on the streets of San Francisco as well as at fixed locations, and also provides a range of other safety services as requested by private clients.
The San Francisco Patrol Special Police is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States and credited for the first modern U.S. adaption of the Community policing concept.
Probably too much like actual police for right thinking people. Best to just install hackable cameras whose watchers are unknown and unknowable instead.
(Link via Althouse.)