By Betty Yu

FREMONT (KPIX 5) — Fremont police say a powerful new weapon to fight crime is working.

With the help of private surveillance cameras, burglaries are down by 30 percent in Fremont. Now, city officials want to install high-def cameras and license plate readers to track criminals coming from out of town.

These new cameras may have helped police find the man who broke into a Fremont home after knocking a security camera down last Wednesday.

The act was captured on video surveillance footage, but he managed to get away with the crime. If the Fremont Police Department gets its way, these kinds of crooks would be captured on video one more time before leaving town.

“If we can get a witness who can give us a partial plate and we can check video at some of the major exit points of the city and try to find that vehicle we can often be successful within hours,” said Fremont Police Public Information Officer Geneva Bosques.

That’s why it’s asking the city council to approve a project that would put about a dozen hi-def cameras similar to these and license plate readers near the freeway, mostly along 880. It would cost $300,000 dollars.

“I think that’s an awful lot of money to spend on these cameras when that money can go to use for other necessities in our community — education,” Fremont teacher Yvette Dekker said.

But George Reyna, another Fremont teacher, said he supports the police department proposal. “I think it’s something that we really need to try and put a stop to and we need keep people out of our city that are criminals,” he said.

Most of the criminals are out-of-towners. In fact, in a recent six month period, only seven of 46 convicted burglars lived in Fremont.

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Police say the cameras would only be used for investigative purposes and they would capture exactly what you would see driving behind a car.

Fremont resident Martha Bermudez said that’s not ok. “I see their point, but it’s something that I’m not really comfortable with,” she said. “What if I let someone borrow my truck and they start doing a bunch of different things and they come after me?”

When raising concerns over a violation of civil liberties, Bosques said there is no expectation of privacy when you’re driving a vehicle on a public street.

“The areas where encroachment becomes an issue is when you begin recording conversations and infringing on that expectation of privacy,” she said.

The police department goes before the city council on Tuesday. If it gets approved, they’ll start a bidding process with the goal of getting cameras up by end of year.


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