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Success Fighting Prostitution Prompts Vallejo To Deploy More Cameras

VALLEJO (KCBS) - The success of crime cameras in controlling prostitution has led Vallejo to expand the number of cameras deployed around town.

The Vallejo City Council voted Tuesday to spend $425,000 on 22 more surveillance cameras to augment the 6 now placed along Sonoma Boulevard.

Real-time images from the cameras let dispatchers alert responding officers to what they will find when they arrive at a crime scene, said Mayor Osby Davis.

"A police officer knowing what's there before they get there, that's a big help," Davis said.

KCBS' Bob Melrose Reports:

The Vallejo Police Department shrank to less than 100 officers after the city declared bankruptcy in 2009. Since a federal judge approved Vallejo's plan to emerge from Chapter 9, the city has started to hire again.

Davis said the new cameras could monitor an area it would take 5 or 10 police officers to patrol.

"We could only get 2 police officers for the money we're spending on the cameras," he said.

Davis dismissed concerns that the cameras pose a threat to civil liberties since they will be trained on public streets.

"Civil rights issues usually hinge around whether or not one has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and I don't think that you can be in a public setting and have a reasonable expectation of privacy," he said.

Footage from the crime cameras has also proven useful for the district attorney's office in deciding whether to prosecute a case.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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