April 21, 2009

Surveillance camera fail

Filed under: Hawaii Media,Honolulu Politics — Doug @ 8:02 pm

The Advertiser notes a recent attack in Chinatown occurred in an area subject to video recording yet did not yield any video evidence. The police and prosecutors claim there were no recordings made of the crime, yet the article goes on to say that new footage was [is?] routinely recorded over old footage. [Allegedly the media are re-used before anyone bothers to read the police blotter? Genius!]

Remember when HPD was looking for volunteers to monitor these cameras? (There’s a post on that topic in the pre-crash archive somewhere…) Well, that effort didn’t pan out, they are still looking for volunteers, and now we see the cameras revealed as a example of security theater.

A critique for Mr. Dooley: I notice that law enforcement is simply asserting that there was no recording of the incident. That deserves some explanation, doesn’t it? Are the cameras in operation 24/7, or not? The possibility that the records were destroyed intentionally would certainly create a “reasonable doubt,” in my mind, if I were a juror when this case goes to trial…


  1. no one has ever said that fascism is run by higher levels of intelligence or common sense.

    Comment by line of flight — April 21, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  2. There’s probably no conspiracy here, just continuation of long-standing practice and apparently HPD policy.

    Years ago, right after the highly touted surveillance cameras were installed, my company had a Chinatown construction site that was repeatedly hit with vandalism and theft of equipment at night, even with security patrols. We noticed that one or two of the surveillance cameras should have had a clear view of the job site and so asked HPD to review the tapes for recent dates on which theft had occurred. They admitted to us then that it was impossible to review much of anything, even the recent past, because the standard practice was to reuse the tape continuously, obliterating any prior records. It sounds like they’ve never changed this practice.

    DOUG: No, the difference is that this time law enforcement is saying that no footage of the crime was ever captured. They are explicitly denying that the crime was recorded and the footage was inadvertently lost when the tape was reused.

    It’s an important distinction. They can either fess up that the cameras don’t run 24/7, or they will have to admit to (routinely!) destroying evidence.

    Comment by wlsc — April 23, 2009 @ 7:30 am

  3. OK, I see your point. I guess they’ll have to admit to routinely destroying evidence (or potential evidence) then because it sounds like HPD has never even tried to preserve the videotapes on any of these so-called surveillance cameras set up throughout Chinatown.

    Looks like HPD has decided that it’s easier to promote security theatre and give jaywalking tickets to the tutus than it is to prevent or deal with crime by taking full advantage of the existing technology.

    Comment by wlsc — April 24, 2009 @ 7:00 am

  4. Quite the brain trust there at HPD. After one ceases laughing at the buffoons, you have to start crying at the waste.

    Comment by stevelaudig — April 25, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

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