Security Cameras Proposal
Proposed China Town Community Owned
Wireless Digital Camera Surveillance System
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Question #1: How does this system work?
The current proposal consists of nine (9) cameras locations throughout the core of Chinatown, placed on top of various buildings that have good line of sight into certain ‘trouble’ areas. NOTE: Cameras can be moved in the future to cover different surveillance areas, or additional cameras can be purchased to expand the surveillance area throughout the entire district.
Footage captured by the cameras is streamed live over the internet, accessible to any authorized individual with a PC and internet access. (An authorized individual is someone whom is granted a password by the system administrator and the community oversight committee.) This system operates on a wireless network; therefore can also bringing WiFi internet capabilities to our entire neighborhood.
Question #2: Why this system and how will it help improve neighborhood safety?
We are proposing this system as one of many strategies to assist in policing of the neighborhood. Cameras are a proven, effective tool for monitoring and promoting safety, and have been used by Seattle Police Department locally in both Pioneer Square (2009) and Lake Union (2009). A similar system was used in 2008 during the Olympic Games in China at over 1,000 sites.
The City will not finance a neighborhood-wide camera system for us, thus it is upon our community’s shoulders to create and maintain the system. The City is reluctant to provide a government funded surveillance system with real time access and recording because of concerns regarding civil rights of individual citizens. With this proposed system, the Seattle Police Department can only have access to the footage from our surveillance cameras with the community’s authorization. With this live or recorded footage, SPD will be able to gather evidence they need to crack down on criminal activity in the neighborhood. For example, they may be able to identify drug dealers in the midst of a transaction.
The community should carefully discuss the parameters they would like to set for Police Department access to and usage of the footage. Specific issues to take into consideration include: civil rights of private citizens and SPD/City of Seattle protocols and policies. Please note, according to the King County Prosecutor’s office, it is legal to have camera surveillance over public areas such as streets, alleys and parks.
Question #3: How much is this system going to cost and whom will pay for it?
The preliminary cost proposal is $70,000.00 without tax. It includes electronics for 9 access points, antennas and 12 cameras. It also includes labor for normal installation. It assumes that the building property owners will allow installation of the equipment within their premise and allow use of AC electricity. Any special installation requirement from Historical Society and Building Owners are not included.
Project management and administration costs are assumed to be zero because it will be performed by expert volunteers. All expenses related to this project will be published in a web site that can be access by all stakeholders.Annual maintenance cost starting at the 2nd year is estimated at $2,700 labor plus $4300 Parts reserve.
To pay for this system, the community will need to collaboratively raise the funds through private donations and/or grants. As stated earlier, the City government will not pay for this system because of concerns over its use for policing purposes. Property owners that host a camera are asked to donate the cost of electricity to run the camera from their building.
Question #4: Whom is responsible for overseeing the camera system and under what authority?
We are proposing that the system be collectively owned by property owners and businesses of the Chinatown community. This means that we will need to have an oversight committee to ensure that the system is being used properly, and we will need to select a system administrator to grant permission to the primary users of the system.
Question #5: What types of maintenance is required for the system?
System maintenance will be handled by the system vendor for the first year (included in $70,000). After one year, the community can decide to maintain the system itself or ask the vendor to continue maintenance services for a fee mentioned above. The proposed cameras are durable and are projected to last at least 5 to 7 years.
Because the access point, antenna, and camera equipment will be housed privately-owned buildings, property owners will need to consent to vendor access for installation and camera maintenance. The recording server will be housed in one building, with the exact location TBD.
Question #6: What’s the timeframe for the system deployment?
The time frame for system deployment will depends on:
a) When funding become available
b) When building owners approve use of their building as a camera site
c) When historical preservation review board approves the installation design of exterior equipment
Once (a), (b) and (c) above are complete. It will take about one month to complete installation and testing. Question #7: Locations of the cameras? And who will determine the location? How are we going to determine the location?
The proposed camera sites on the map are not fixed, and were merely suggested to help develop acost estimate. The locations of the cameras will be determined by:
a) What coverage the community wants
b) Number of cameras needed to provide the desired coverage
c) Which building owner allow the mounting of cameras
d) The technical design needed to provide the desired coverage
To develop the cost estimate,Nora Chan, Andy Yip and Stan Wu (of the Hong Kong Society) performed a physical walk with the vendor. The Chinatown area walked is from Jackson to Lane, 5th to 9th. Along the way, Nora described possible areas that may need coverage. Then Stan asked the vendor to prepare a preliminary design and itemized cost estimates for the system to Stan, Nora and Andy. The vendor proposed a 9 Access Point (sites), 12 camera system that predicted the coverage as shown on the coverage map. Then we worked with the vendor and equipment manufacturer to reduce the cost to the lowest price point without compromising quality of the system.
Question #8 What is the definition of the Community for this project?
This is a complex question. There are a larger community and a central china town community. The larger community covers the entire China Town/International District (ID). The central China Town Community is the area covered by the proposed surveillance system.
Question #9: Who’s involved in this effort and what are their roles?
The Central Chinatown Community
This consists of people from Senior in Action, Hong Kong Association of Washington, family associations, Property Owners, Business Owners etc. Examples of their roles are as follows:
a) Primary funding responsibility if not grant funded
b) Ultimate decision making for coverage design
c) Procure property owners that will allow equipment installation
d) Decide who will be given password to view the camera footage
e) Decide the long term maintenance Issue
f) Decide on Operational issue
The larger Chinatown/International District Community
Organizations that have a larger purview over the entire community (such as the Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority and Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area) have been informed of the proposed system. Examples of their roles are as follows:
a) Primary funding responsibility if grant funded
a) Input into coverage design
b) Input into who should be given password to view camera footage
c) Input into Maintenance and Operations issues
Question #10: If I live in Chinatown/International District, should I be concerned about privacy at my residence?
Any window that ends up within the camera shots can be masked by the system and cannot be viewed even if the camera are being steered to different directions
Have questions? comments? suggestions? or concerns?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!