Boulder Police Secretly Install Surveillance Cameras On Municipal Campus Between City Hall, Library

BOULDER, Colo. – Some Boulder residents are questioning their police department’s decision to install surveillance cameras in the park area between city hall and the public library, without letting the public know. The city quietly placed two cameras on the municipal building and one on the library in early January. When asked about the secrecy, Boulder Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kobel said, "The reason those cameras were installed is because we have an ongoing criminal investigation in the area." Kobel gave few details about the investigation, but did say police have received numerous complaints about criminal behavior, including assault, threatening behavior, urinating in public and drug dealing. "In some cases, we have drug dealing to high school students," she said. The cameras have touched a raw nerve with some residents, especially those who hang out in the public space. "They’re violating our rights and our freedom," said Bailey Flood. When asked if it would have made a difference if the city had been upfront about the cameras, Flood replied, "No, it’s an invasion of privacy." Not everyone looks at it that way. "They’re fine," said Jeff Swann, who admits that he drinks regularly while sitting on a park bench in front of City Hall. "Cameras are a part of life."   Swann says he’s observed a lot of criminal behavior in the park. "There was a big fight here two or three days ago," he said. "It was a real live brawl. It lasted five minutes. Both guys were […]

CommunityCam Launches Online Mapping Tool For Security Cameras

Dec. 01–You’re walking down the street. Someone jumps out from behind a wall, grabs your purse and takes off. Time to cancel the credit cards and get a new purse? Perhaps not. A Portland, Ore.-based company that specializes in video surveillance solutions has just launched an online crowdsourced mapping tool in Boulder County that could help victims of crime track down perpetrators and bring them to justice. The tool is called CommunityCam, and it allows people to map online where surveillance cameras are located in a given area. Victims can visit the map — at — to see if there was a camera in the immediate area where the crime was committed, be it a mugging or a hit-and-run. They can then request that police try to obtain any footage captured. “We’re seeing this as a community-based safety initiative that is being embraced because of the shortfalls in law enforcement budgets,” said Josh Daniels, founder of CommunityCam and president of “Most of the cameras out there have been in place for years, and people simply don’t know that they are out there.” So far, 32 cameras in Boulder have been plotted on CommunityCam, with another 500 or so mapped in the Denver area. The first city to go online was Philadelphia, late last year. The Denver metro area went live last month. CommunityCam is also operating in San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Oakland, Chicago and Orange County, Calif. Daniels estimates that about 10,000 surveillance cameras have been mapped […]