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Smart Streetlights San Diego: Council approves technology

SAN DIEGO — It was a contentious debate Tuesday with a split in the San Diego City Council over the future of 500 Smart Streetlights used as a surveillance tool for police officers to investigate violent crimes. In the end, the vote came down 6-3 as the city council approved the traffic program to move forward.

San Diego’s newly appointed privacy board voted unanimously against moving forward with the Smart Streetlights in their current form. Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, along with councilmembers Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery Steppe, were against the new cameras.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria released the following statement: 

“It’s the responsibility of local government to keep its residents safe. Smart Streetlights and Automated License Plate Readers will help the San Diego Police Department identify and apprehend suspects in deadly crimes and bring them to justice, making our communities safer. I thank the City Council for appreciating the importance of these investigative tools, which will now be deployed consistent with the substantial transparency and oversight provided by the City’s Privacy Ordinance.”  

The street light cameras will be able to read license plates and will be rolling 24 hours a day. Police officers say the video footage will only be accessed when there is a serious crime committed in the area.

The cameras are expected to be deployed as early as fall.

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