MORAGA, Calif. - Moraga residents have launched a 'Community Watch' campaign to raise money for the purchase and installation of camera surveillance in an effort to deter crime.
"This was a good opportunity for the citizens to rally around something that is for the benefit of the community, that the town might not be able to get to in a timely fashion," said Renata Sos, director of the Moraga Community Foundation.
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Under the proposal, the Moraga Police Department would install cameras at five strategic high-traffic locations in town, including Canyon Rd., Moraga Way, Moraga Rd., Rheem Blvd., and St. Mary's Road. Each site would have license plate recognition cameras, as well as high-definition color overview cameras.
The Foundation, which is coordinating the fundraising efforts, has so far raised nearly $9,000 out of its $60,000 goal, which is the estimated total cost of the equipment.
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"If there's a crime that occurs in town, and the suspects are leaving, we have the ability to capture them on film to provide information that will go towards solving the crime," said Jon King, Moraga police chief.
Police tell ABC7 News the information gathered by the cameras would be transferred and securely stored at the department. The images would only be accessed by investigators in connection with a crime. Any license plate images would be kept for a minimum of one year, per the town's records retention policy. Recordings from the overview cameras will be stored for 30 days before being deleted and/or overwritten.
"We think that the way the system is designed and the way it's going to be implemented, we think will both provide police with the tools needed to solve crimes, but also protect people's privacy," says Sos.
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The town of Moraga hopes to join neighboring cities such as Lafayette and Orinda who have installed a surveillance camera network in recent years. Officials in both cities say crime has dropped since launching their respective programs.
"Many criminals will come to a community, they'll commit a crime, and if the pickings are good, they'll be back for more, says King. "If we can solve that first crime, then we can prevent those that follow."
Moraga residents say their town is cash-strapped right now because money needs to go towards fixing a sinkhole, as well as an old bridge on Canyon Rd. that was previously damaged by a landslide.
Campaign donations can be made on the Moraga Community Foundation's website.