Neighborhood Anti-Crime Surveillance Effort Prompts Privacy, Equity Concerns

Mission District residents on multiple streets have indicated an interest in meetings with police by putting post-it notes in their windows.

Nuala Bishari/San Francisco Public Press

Mission District residents on multiple streets have indicated an interest in meetings with police by putting post-it notes in their windows.

On several streets in the Mission, you can spot sticky notes in the windows of some homes. They’re blank, but they’re sending a message: The residents would like to signal their interest in participating in a neighborhood effort to address crime, trash and visible homelessness in the neighborhood. Part of this coordinated effort between neighbors and police is the suggestion that residents install surveillance cameras from Ring, an Amazon company. Nuala Bishari reported on the somewhat secretive initiative for the San Francisco Public Press. She talked with “Civic” about what she found and how she learned it.

“I think one of the big issues, really, when we’re looking at private surveillance is the fact that legislation is still catching up to protecting the rights and civil liberties of people. And this is something that we see a lot in San Francisco, that the tech appears and then we kind of scramble a couple years later to figure out a way to legislate around it. And Ring is a really perfect example for that.”

— Nuala Bishari

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher

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