New security cameras now operating in Spyglass Hill as part of pilot program

As part of a pilot program approved last June by the Newport Beach City Council, private security cameras are now up and running in the public right-of-way at the entrances to the Spyglass Hill neighbourhood.

Eight cameras were deployed, with two at each of the four main thoroughfares to Spy Glass Hill Road. The cameras went online and were fully tested Wednesday, according to Spyglass Hill Community Assn. President Bruce Horn.

Signage has been added to some but not all of the camera poles, which are free-standing and rely on solar power. Although they were expected to be installed within a few months of last summer’s approvals, Horn said it took longer than anticipated to determine the best locations for their placement.

“The cameras need enough sunlight to drive the cameras 24/7, and we have a lot of slopes,” Horn said. “So, some of the locations we selected weren’t suitable. It became a moving target to get those locations figured out and approved.”

As approved by the Newport Beach City Council, the program allows for up to 10 qualified homeowner associations with at least 50 single-unit dwellings within a contiguous neighbourhood to install private security cameras in the public right-of-way. The program was set to expire in September. Horn said his association has filed for an extension of the pilot program by an additional four months, to January 2025, because of the delays.

Under the program’s provisions, cameras used in the public right of way are expected to be self-contained with solar or battery power and have wireless communication. They also cannot have pan, tilt or zoom abilities or utilise facial recognition or capture audio.
Horn said residents didn’t see the cameras simply as additional security but as a tool to help police with their investigations.

“The community’s very excited about this. We’ve never had anything that’s caused this much of a stir in Spyglass. People are just thrilled,” Horn said. “Burglaries happen and, when they do, it touches a nerve. If there’s an event in the community, the cameras are another tool for the police to use in order to solve the crime.”

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