Two surveillance cameras are going up on light poles in White Center this summer at the corners of 16th Ave S.W./S.W. 98th St. (pictured) and 15th Ave S.W./S.W. Roxbury. The King County Sheriff's Office is installing the cameras to record crime that happens, and potentially deter it from occurring in the first place.
Eyes in the sky: King County Sheriff’s Office to install surveillance cameras in White Center
White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers unveiled details on a new crime deterrent for the community: putting up two high-visibility surveillance cameras in the downtown area.
Speaking to the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council on June 7, Myers said they are “overt cameras, meaning that they will be highly visible with signage indicating this is an area that is being taped. The thinking behind this is – much like those block watch signs you see when you enter a neighborhood – to let people know this is an area we are watching.”
Cameras will watch the 16th Ave S.W. business corridor from a light pole on the corner of 16th and 98th, and another will watch the intersection of Roxbury and 15th.
Both of those locations have made the news recently, from the shooting death of Sweetheart Failautusi on 15th to the rampant drug and gun trafficking along 16th that caught the ATF’s attention, leading to dozens of arrests and contraband seizures in Operation Center of Attention. When trouble comes to White Center, the majority finds a home in one of those two corridors.
Myers said similar setups have been successful crime deterrents in other cities, and the potential advantages are threefold.
“Part of the success is as an investigative tool, to be able to look back at something that happened within in the last day or the last week to see what was caught on video tape, and part of the benefit is just as a deterrent,” Myers said. “Not only as deterrent to people committing crimes, but also it makes people feel like it is a deterrent.
“I like driving in neighborhoods where I see those block watch signs, and we hope there will be a similar effect for people in the downtown area,” he added.
Myers said cameras will be installed high enough so they cannot be vandalized, and can be moved to different locations as the Sheriff’s Office sees fit. The cameras record for a “reasonable amount of time,” and will only be focused on public spaces to avoid privacy issues.
The cameras will be installed sometime this summer, and signage will make their presence clearly known.