As part of the City of Santa Monica’s effort to evaluate the technology for new surveillance systems in the city, security cameras have been temporarily installed at two popular city locations.
Two sets of security cameras were installed during the last two weeks — one at the corner of the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Boulevard, and the other at the Santa Monica Police substation on the Santa Monica Pier — said Eric Uller, lead public safety system analyst for the Santa Monica Police Department.
The cameras have been put up as part of a test to allow city officials to evaluate the camera technology for surveillance systems in the city, Uller said.
An evaluation committee, composed of police and city staff, will monitor the new cameras over a period of a few weeks to see how they work, he said.
“They (evaluation committee) will look at how the systems operate and their functional design,” Uller said.
The video will be recorded and stored for analysis by law enforcement personnel, he said.
The camera systems were installed by two separate vendors, Hamilton Pacific and Federal Network Services.
After the evaluation period for the systems is completed, police will help determine the specific locations throughout the city where the new surveillance cameras should be installed, Santa Monica Police Lt. Frank Fabrega said.
The installation of security cameras at popular city locations is part of the increased security measures that city officials proposed in response to an incident in July on the Santa Monica Pier.
Police said they received information from someone in late July who had taken photographs of three men, described as Middle Eastern, who had allegedly videotaped areas of the pier in a suspicious manner.
As a result of ongoing international terrorism activities, Santa Monica police and city officials proposed to increase the security presence at various locations throughout the city, including the pier and Third Street Promenade.
The proposed boost in security measures for the city is estimated to cost about $2 million, city officials said.
The new surveillance cameras, which cost about $1.1 million, are expected to be the most expensive measure.
Uller said the enhanced surveillance systems will be used to help dissuade potential terrorist activity from occurring in the city.
“Hopefully it will dissuade the activity by the mere presence of the systems,” Uller said.
While the visibility of the security cameras will be a deterrent to criminal activity, the cameras may also help police “capture crimes that may be occurring,” Fabrega said.
Since the increased city security measures were proposed, police have taken such steps as conducting vehicle inspections on a random basis on the Santa Monica Pier and having more overtime police patrol on the pier and at other popular city locations, Fabrega said.
Police have also begun to acquire additional resources for police K-9 units, including bomb-sniffing dogs and canine han- dlers.
The dogs have been purchased and are going through canine training, Fabrega said.