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Castro Community Benefit District Votes “No” on Camera Program

After much deliberation and an unprecedented amount of community input, the Castro Community Benefit District board of directors voted against installing a public safety camera program in its footprint. The meeting opened with a report to the board on the results of the community-based camera survey the CBD conducted last winter. Andrea Aiello, Executive Director Castro Community Benefit District, stated “The Castro Community Benefit District Board had decided several months ago, that they would look towards the community, particularly the community-based survey, to help the board make a decision. The results of the survey were presented to the board last night, the results showed a majority of respondents supporting a camera program with strong privacy controls, but not an overwhelming majority. The survey results showed approvals in the 44-60% range. To approve a controversial project such as this, the board was looking for approvals in more of the 75-80% range.”

Finances also played a role in the board’s no vote. In year six of the program, after the grant would run out, the CBD would need approximately $87,000 per year to continue the program. This is a significant amount of funds for the Castro CBD to raise every year and the board was reluctant to put that burden on the property owners. “In the end, Aiello stated, the board decided the financial costs and the community concerns of the camera program outweighed the benefits a camera program could bring to the district.”

Additional Information

Responses to three of the key survey questions:
  1. “My opinion about cameras versus safety is:”
    • 44.1% of the respondents generally had the opinion that safety was more important than privacy, (safety is much more important and safety is more important).
    • 20.8% of the respondents generally had the opinion that privacy was more important than safety (privacy is much more important and privacy is more important).
  2. “I feel there will be adequate protection of the privacy of members of the general public who are not part of an incident as victims or perpetrators.”
    • 50.8% of the respondents generally agreed with the statement
    • 37.9% generally disagreed with this statement
  3. “My opinion about the proposal to install safety cameras with a well-managed camera program with no direct access to the police or the public is:” (Question was optional. 98.4% responded)
    • 61.6% of the respondents supported the proposal as presented as long as the expectations of solid privacy and implementation policies are implemented as spelled out AND includes those who would be in favor of the program with some modifications made to the technology to ensure additional privacy.
    • 28.8% of the respondents opposed the camera program proposed or any source of cameras.

Complete access to all the research files can be found here.

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