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State installing nearly 500 hi-tech surveillance cameras in Oakland, East Bay

Street surveillance camera
Andrew Clement
Flickr / Creative Commons
Street surveillance camera

Newsom said in a news release: "This investment marks another step forward in our commitment to bolstering public safety and tackling organized crime and roadway violence in Oakland and across California."

The new cameras will allow investigators to identify vehicles by searching for "crime-linked vehicles by vehicle type, make, color, license plate state, missing/covered plates, and other unique features (e.g., bumper stickers, decals, and roof racks)," according to the governor's office.

The camera system also features real-time alerts that will tell law enforcement agencies when it has identified a suspected or wanted vehicle.

Footage will be stored for 28 days and isn't supposed to be shared with anyone not affiliated with the state's law enforcement agencies, Newsom's office said.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said she welcomes the new cameras.

She said: "This new camera network will help us stop crime and hold more suspects accountable. On behalf of all Oaklanders, I want to thank the Governor and the California Highway Patrol for their ongoing commitment and investments in the city."

However, not everyone is thrilled by this latest effort to fight crime in the city of Oakland.

Cat Brooks of the Anti Police-Terror Project said the cameras are mostly a PR effort for Newsom.

Brooks said. "The approach is adopting the same failed strategies we've taken for decades. We've never stopped sending people to jails, yet crime keeps rising because it's an approach that doesn't work."

She also added that the cameras are likely going to be installed in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.