OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT
|INCIDENT:||Oxnard Police Department installs Community Cameras as part of their efforts to curb continued violence
|DATE/TIME:||April 21, 2017
|LOCATION:||Sierra Linda Neighborhood
Rose Park Neighborhood
Eric S. Sonstegard, Assistant Police Chief
|CONTACT PERSON AND CONTACT INFO:||Eric S. Sonstegard, Assistant Police Chief
The Oxnard Police Department recently installed the first of a series of Community Cameras in neighborhoods adversely affected by continued gang violence. These Community Cameras, which are housed in overt boxes with “Oxnard Police Department” and “Protecting Our Community With Exceptional Service” printed on them, are installed in high pedestrian traffic areas in selected neighborhoods. They provide 24-hour a day video surveillance that investigators are able to monitor and record. The first two Community Cameras have been installed in the Rose Park and Sierra Linda neighborhoods.
Sadly, the genesis for this program began out of tragedy. On February 17, 2014, 24-year old Joshua Van was senselessly shot killed as he walked with friends in the 2000 block of Mariposa Avenue. Joshua, a former basketball player at Rio Mesa High School, had just left the Circle-K market in the Sierra Linda neighborhood when he was confronted by gang members and shot.
Shortly thereafter, Cynthia Gonzalez, Joshua’s mother, accompanied by Joshua’s father, Carlos Gonzalez, and sister, Ciara Gonzales, began to be regular attendees at Oxnard City Council meetings. Cynthia would make impassioned pleas each week during public comments for the city to install CCTV cameras as a way to deter future violence. Cynthia was diligent with her comments, often citing public surveillance camera programs in other cities that had been successful deterrents to neighborhood violence. Meanwhile, Oxnard Police Investigators ultimately made arrests of two individuals responsible for the murder of Joshua Van. Their investigation was greatly enhanced by surveillance footage captured inside and outside the Circle K Market. This only made the Gonzalez family more resolute in their quest for CCTV cameras.
Tragically, the Gonzalez family would once again be touched by violence in 2016 when 32-year old Christopher Camper was shot and killed less than 1,000 feet from where Joshua was killed. Oxnard Police Investigators arrested the individual responsible for Camper’s murder and were again aided by surveillance footage captured by nearby cameras. Cynthia continued to attend City Council meetings in 2016 and ask for public CCTV cameras.
In the fall of 2016, inspired by the Gonzales family and having seen similar successes in other cities, the Oxnard Police Department decided to partner with the Gonzalez’s and begin a Community Camera program. The Department earmarked asset forfeiture funds to develop the first two prototypes of what are now called Community Cameras. Cynthia, Carlos, and Ciara attended neighborhood council meetings with Oxnard Police Department staff to help tell the story of Joshua and answer any questions about public surveillance cameras.
The Oxnard Police Department plans to install additional Community Cameras in 2017 in a number of selected neighborhoods. Assistant Chief Eric S. Sonstegard- “These cameras are one tool in a multi-faceted plan to address continued gang violence. We understand they won’t prevent everything but we believe the presence of video surveillance cameras can have a positive effect on increasing public safety. Their mere presence can act as a powerful crime deterrent and evidence obtained from video gathered can be invaluable in some police investigations.”
DATE / TIME PREPARED: 4/21/2017 12:00 p.m.