City of Clayton Installs Cameras, License Plate Readers at City Entrances

August 16, 2017 8:00 am · 49 comments

The City of Clayton is using a few new tools to fight crime.

About a year ago, the City Council asked Police Chief Chris Wenzel to research the feasibility of having a camera system installed to help in the ‘continued health and safety of the community.’

After a lengthy study and presentation to Council, a camera system was developed and through a public process the system was funded, built and installed, according to Chief Wenzel.

The cameras, along with license plate readers are placed at the four entrance locations in the city and are used as a notification when wanted individuals or vehicles come into the city, Chief Wenzel said.

The information can also be used to apprehend criminals after a crime has been committed.

photo credit: ‘Zman’

chuckie the troll August 16, 2017 at 8:05 AM

This assumes, of course, that ‘strangers’ entering Clayton aren’t driving a stolen vehicle and/or driving with ‘paper plates’.

Ricardus August 16, 2017 at 8:06 AM

Concord needed this yesterday. If anything, Concord needs cameras near all freeway on ramps and off ramps. I think Concord is the only large city without cameras in the County now.

on Yolanda August 16, 2017 at 8:13 AM

The one on Oakhurst between Camino Estrada and Yolanda doesn’t seem to have all the angles covered, they should consider adding more. I hope these things help, they could be useful for stuff like mail theft, hit-and-runs, etc.

Ricardus August 16, 2017 at 8:14 AM

Chuckie, beginning in 2019 paper plates will be illegal. And if the vehicle is stolen, it should be reported. I think this will be a great deterrent. Walnut Creek has cameras on the slow down you’re going to fast trailer things.

Jan Smuts August 16, 2017 at 8:17 AM

That is what that thing is. Got it.

I'm a beluever August 16, 2017 at 8:19 AM

My car was stolen from clayton 3 weeks ago and recovered 4 days later due to license plate readers in clayton and concord. Thank you for all the officers involved. They did a great job!

Kentucky Derby August 16, 2017 at 8:26 AM

Cameras are helping (after the fact) in Lamorinda, but criminals are getting around it with stolen vehicles and paper plates. Criminals don’t care – especially criminals who commit crimes for a living.

PO'd August 16, 2017 at 8:31 AM

These should help keep the crime rate low. I hope there’s one on Kirker Pass Rd.

LOL August 16, 2017 at 8:39 AM

Surveillance society rolls on…

mikebassett August 16, 2017 at 8:42 AM

I wonder what the costs are to purchase, install and maintain. If reasonable, should be at all intersections… everywhere.

Cautiously Informed August 16, 2017 at 9:02 AM

I’m all for anything that will help in the effort to fight crime. On another note, isn’t it interesting how one branch of government works and strives to fight crime and make our community safe; while another branch of government does all it can to release criminals from jails and prisons, and softens the laws for the benefit of criminals, making our community more and more dangerous?

Jeff August 16, 2017 at 9:13 AM

One Nation Under Surveillance

Captain Bebops August 16, 2017 at 9:20 AM

@LOL, party like it’s “1984”. Big brother is watching. But I should talk, I’ve got security cameras installed on my house. 😉

Simpleisine August 16, 2017 at 9:33 AM

Exactly why i have no front plate and mud covering half my rear plate. Its none if Claytons beezwax if Im entering their city limits and who I am.

haha August 16, 2017 at 9:43 AM

Thank goodness for Uber and Lyft lol

RANDOM TASK August 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM

9 and 12 you obviously voted for 47 catch and release program …that is not working all that good is it …….these cameras should be at every freeway entrance and exit in contra contra county and all along the monument illegal sanctuary corridor … is it that every dem wants illegals and criminals infesting our streets and our police are basically getting paid to catch and re catch criminals only to release again …. can a dem answer that question …..I would think not …since they vote party instead of thinking about their children neighborhood city and state …..come on Dems answer the question why do you want illegals and criminals on the streets …..why do you want sharia law and why do you hate this country so much ….please any dem ….well actually I would like for….. DEM SLACKER — TR GRILL MATE TO ANSWER ….but obviously he has to wait for Maxine waters to give him his Answer

Aunty Ock August 16, 2017 at 10:03 AM

This gives me a great excuse to drive down side streets and through neighborhoods I would normally avoid. Thanks, big brother!

And the right has it August 16, 2017 at 10:09 AM

Surveillance is needed now that liberals have let society run amok. WE have had to find some way to protect ourselves form all of their failed policies. Until the cause of the crime is fixed (and that will take many years of republican leadership), what else are we supposed to do?

Thatguy August 16, 2017 at 10:19 AM

Awesome. Very happy that this was done. If all the entrance and exit points of the City our covered I would suggest adding additional systems on the major roads so the wanted vehicles can be tracked after entering the city.

Nothing better than to be alerted to the fact that a wanted vehicle has entered the city, even better when you can continue to track them, hunt them, and capture them.

THE BLACK KNIGHT August 16, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Ricardus #4,

I wouldn’t say that “paper plates” will be “illegal,” as it’s only a California law, so we will still see “paper plates” on out of state vehicles and for those that reside in California that choose to still use “paper plates” they will be available out of state and over the internet. There are always ways to fight the law if cited, you just have to use “the law” to fight “the law,” and you can just about get out of anything.

Shoulda Coulda August 16, 2017 at 10:34 AM

@ Jeff & LOL

I’m all in favor of surveillance of criminal activity.
I’m pretty sure the cameras are not being used
to obstruct the rights of soccer moms. We’ve had
Neighborhood Watch for years. Keeping an eye
out for people up to no good is VERY good.

ClayTon August 16, 2017 at 10:53 AM

@ Aunty Ock.
Clearly you do not understand the layout of Clayton. There is virtually no way to enter, move around or exit Clayton without driving past 1 of the 4 camera sites. But go ahead and drive in circles all day in the neighborhoods, if you have the time, they are public streets after all.
And for those worried about personal surveillance, if the car you are driving is not stolen or the plates not stolen either, no police officer views the tapes or cares about your comings and goings.

Kirkwood August 16, 2017 at 11:14 AM

I now regard any car with paper plates as suspicious, especially if the driver doesn’t match the car.

foonman August 16, 2017 at 11:22 AM

I used to get people at the dealership come in and ask for a couple of paper (plastic) temps. We always refused, however we sometimes would notice one or two missing from a car on the front line. This is (unfortunately) something we must work with in our times. Better than nothing as the crooks get more clever. We have to stop them somehow….

Concord Mike August 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Good for Clayton.

Now it is Concord’s turn. We need cameras at all major entrances to the city and on all Freeway access points as well.

Uob August 16, 2017 at 11:35 AM

You are creepy Clayton

FCA August 16, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Bring back Red Light Cameras!!!

EastCoastExPat August 16, 2017 at 12:13 PM

Good job helping to keep our city safe(r) Clayton City Council and Clayton PD!

WC resident August 16, 2017 at 1:06 PM

@Cautiously Informed #11 – The reason so many criminals are released days, and sometimes hours, after getting caught is the jails are 100% full.

I had a relative arrested on a Thursday on a variety of charges in several courts. The public defender advised pleading guilty. The sheriff bussed him to courts on Thursday and Friday where he plead guilty and was sent on his way to the next court until all of them were disposed by Friday afternoon. Early Saturday morning the jail filled up and the guy was released around 10am with “sentence served”. In this case all of the charges were minor and the public defender knew the guy would get a low score when the jail evaluated him. He was not a gang member, had not murdered anyone, or done other things that raise the score. The public defender knew the jail fills up and they they release the lowest scoring people to make room for people with higher scores.

The solutions seem to be either to build many more jails or do a mass execution of everyone that’s in jail regardless of why they are incarcerated. If the jail fills up again then do another mass execution. Repeat until the habitual criminals are removed from society.

J August 16, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Way to go Clayton, just keep handing over your civil liberties. I’m sure you’re all the same folks that turn for having a fire on non-burn days. Welcome to communist California!

RANDOM TASK August 16, 2017 at 1:25 PM

Woah 23 you are talking about profiling based off of description that is good police work yet abolished about 8 years ago since too many criminals were being caught and encarsersted … they are catch and release a great program instituted by OBAMA AND THE HEY LETS SCREW UP AMERICA CAMPAIGN ……problem is it worked and soon the places like Iran and North Korea and China will divide and conquer these states and abolish freedom from the world …..unless we fight back with education and stop the lemming mentality …..if you don’t like TRUMP blame your dem politicians they forced this country to right itself GOD BLESS AMERCIA

Savage August 16, 2017 at 1:45 PM

Surveillance state here we come. City of clayton now is tracking and logging all your vehicles movements when you leave and enter the city.

Creepy but necessary August 16, 2017 at 2:02 PM

I don’t like the idea of surveillance but with so many low-lifes making a living from crime it makes sense to have cameras.

However, until CA can build more jails and prisons to house the degenerates that would rather prey upon others than support themselves we will continue to have crime on the rise.

1. Repeal Props 47, 57 and AB 109
2. Break ground on new jails. In the short term I’m in favor of prison camps if there isn’t room in the current jails. (Or electric bleachers?)

ConcordMike August 16, 2017 at 2:33 PM

I liked it in the 60’s and 70’s where one could leave their doors and windows open and you could walk down the street without having to worry about being mugged, or killed. Bring on the cameras and license plate readers. Let’s make our country safe again for the people who worked hard for it.

Tim August 16, 2017 at 3:51 PM

Explain the problem of cameras to car thieves.
Will expired plates be flagged?

Chad August 16, 2017 at 4:07 PM

Tried to post this earlier but it hasn’t showed.

I can think of at least 3 ways to get into Clayton. Through Roundtree. Through Crystal Ranch and down the street right before the pavillion.

Next step is a wall around the entire city.

Pony August 16, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Driving through downtown Concord today, I was passed by three cars (at different times) who had smoked license plate covers on. How are plate readers going to help with those?

Aunty Ock August 16, 2017 at 5:59 PM


Maybe you should get out of your house more often. I had no trouble getting around the cameras and plate readers using the state street roads up to Mitchell Canyon.

Let us all know what humble pie tastes like next week.

B August 16, 2017 at 6:21 PM

Good enough for Clayton, where Hoffmeister is asst city manager, but too good for Concord where she is on the Council. Concord is dragging it’s feet on cameras. Why?

Original G August 16, 2017 at 6:50 PM

Degree of concern depends upon what is done with information gathered, who has access to that information and how long information is retained. As well is or will information gathered be merchandised as a product ?
These issues probably should be addressed by Clayton City Council and made public.

City of Pittsburg stepped right up after Highway 4 shootings.
Took them about 6 weeks to be up and running.
Last info I saw Contra Costa County was still talking about cameras on Highway 4.

Believe Pittsburg has car mounted LPR systems and possibly even cellular enabled LPRs.

There are even portable cellular enabled LPR systems on the market completely self contained. Can be hidden along a road much as hunters put up critter cams.

Even the US Postal service ????

Ingsoc August 16, 2017 at 7:22 PM

Orwell would be terrified to see Telescreen is becoming a reality with the capabilities of the NSA to data mine, now a camera on every street corner and people are willing buying Google Home/ Amazon Echo to eavesdrop on your private moments. No one should be concerned about the Government spying on you. We’re willingly providing them with the ability to do so. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Good grief August 16, 2017 at 7:49 PM

One wonders if the people of Clayton were asked if they wanted cameras. Was it a vote? One wonders if they want their highly paid police force enforcing “transient” criminal activity passing throught rather than focusing on crime perpetrated within the city. Do they realize the limited resources could be absorbed attempting to chase down passer-throughs? And that is granting the assumption the police, city council, whomever, have the best of intentions and will have zero mission creep (think NSA: metadata capture and storage, I’m guessing “in the cloud”, where it just resides on someone else’s server out of local control).

Andrei August 16, 2017 at 8:46 PM

Phone Jammers are easily aquired by criminals and used to jam telematics. These cameras help, but Lojack….gets your car back!

Dr. Jellyfinger August 16, 2017 at 10:38 PM

They’re just trying to catch me screwing around peeling out or doing doughnuts in my old car!
It’s a total waste of time & money… I don’t ever do that stuff in Clayton….
I know I gotta live here!

Lmao August 17, 2017 at 3:42 AM

Bay point has these. Does nothing to deter criminals or catch them. If anything, they’re for traffic monitoring purposes.

Robbery watcher August 17, 2017 at 9:05 AM

A man walks up to a guy pumping gas, robs him of his wallet and cell phone, then just for fun, bludgeons his face with a handgun. He sprints way onto a residential street where his accomplice is waiting in a vehicle. Much later, a witness reads about the crime and calls the police. He identifies the suspicious car in front of his house as a black 2001 Honda. In Concord, the police would have blown him off, but if there is a license plate reader at intersections and freeway on ramps, the police review the tapes for images captured around the time of the robbery. They see a black 2001 Honda, see images of the passengers, and the license plate number. An arrest follows. Even if the car is stolen, or the plates are paper, the information is still valuable. I believe Chief Swanger keeps denying the need for these kind of license plate readers because he doesn’t want to be bothered with having to research the images and investigate. The vast majority of robbers are never caught. Something needs to be done. Swanger supports license plate readers attached to cop cars. That’s fine, but we also need cameras where the police aren’t, not where they are.

ClayTon August 17, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Aunty Ock,
Yup, way to understand the definition of “virtually” …
Save that humble pie for your plate.

Aunty Ock August 17, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Nice of you to realize that you can’t go very far “driving around in circles.” You also can’t have it both ways.

Enjoy your pie.

Al Wagner August 18, 2017 at 8:52 AM

It is about time. I was a long time resident of Clayton and I was telling the Mayor and members of the city council to do this exact thing YEARS ago. They told me at the time, political correctness will keep them from doing it. I am glad they have finally grown up!!!

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