East Bay freeway camera system expanding in wake of deadly shootings

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Officials in the East Bay are issuing a warning to the shooters who have been terrorizing freeways in the area that they will soon be on camera.

The system focusing its cameras on those troubled freeways in several cities will be greatly expanded.

"The message to shooters on the freeways is, 'the reign of terror is over,'" said Contra Costa County's Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox. Knox also serves on the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, a coalition of state and local officials formed with the goal of reducing the number of shootings on Bay Area Freeways.

A map of planned cameras for East Bay freeways is seen in this undated image.


"Let it be known that there are cameras on the freeway. Let it be known that if you create a horrible act, that it will be recorded, and you will be held accountable for your actions," said Democratic Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, who represents Richmond.

Counting Sunday night's shooting on 880 in Hayward, the CHP says there have been 90 shootings on Bay Area freeways since late 2015, eight of them have been fatal including the murder of DeMarcus Doss on I-80 in Richmond in March.

Now thanks to up to $2 million in funding from the California Department of Transportation, cameras will be installed at hot spots along Interstate 80 and Highway 4.

The city of San Pablo already has three cameras aimed at the freeway. It's part of a larger system of more than 100 high definition cameras which record activity throughout the city. "Innocent lives have already been lost and we owe it all of our East Bay residents to minimize the damage," said Cecilia Valdez, the Mayor of San Pablo.

The new state-funded system will include a variety of wireless high-tech components, depending on the location.

For instance, the Hilltop interchange in Richmond is complex. It has a dozen lanes that need to be monitored, so it's a location that will receive a more sophisticated system that could include shot-spotter microphones, tilt/zoom cameras and license plate readers.

But, the answer to freeway violence may not rest in technology alone. "Freeway shootings do continue and we have to address this issue that cameras by themselves will not address," explained Thurmond.
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