Piedmont approves cameras to spy on license plates

In a move to reduce the amount of crime coming in from neighboring Oakland, officials in tiny — and tony — Piedmont are going forward with a plan to have cameras record images of all cars coming into the city.

The Piedmont City Council has approved the installation of 36 cameras that will capture the license plate of every car that enters their city limits.

The move comes as Piedmont — a city of about 10,000 people surrounded by Oakland on all sides — experiences a sharp spike in burglaries, robberies and auto thefts.

Earlier this year, after Piedmont police  officials reported that crime was up 30 percent, the City Council asked the department to consider a plan to outfit the city’s streets with cameras.

Police Chief Rikki Goede believes the security cameras will be useful tool in reducing crime in the city, telling KCBS-AM:

“if the technology is out there, why not use it to help you keep a community safe, or help you solve crimes?”

Piedmont will be the second Bay Area city to install such a system. In 2009 Tiburon installed a system of security cameras, with officials in that city later reporting a 30 percent drop in crime.

Piedmont’s cameras — which will cost the city about $700,000 — are expected to be installed by September.