Organized theft: San Francisco is open to changing city security camera laws to help fight crime

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – After his one-on-one interview with ABC7 News, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott once again called on the city to help the SFPD fight crime.

One of its biggest demands is to allow police access to surveillance camera footage.

“We didn’t have access to watch it or to call license plate numbers and vehicles and suspect descriptions in real time,” Scott said.

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Currently, San Francisco law only allows SFPD to view surveillance camera footage after an event has occurred, except in certain situations.

“Think about it. It really hinders our ability to do what we need to do,” Scott said.

Concerns about privacy have driven the city’s laws on this issue, which Chief Scott says he understands.

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But despite concerns, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city must be prepared to consider possibly changing the laws as they currently stand.

“Definitely a conversation that needs to take place and a change that we need to make. And we’ll be working with our leader to try to make changes to that,” Breed said.

But it’s not just about revisiting the surveillance laws the chief has in mind. He says the SFPD needs more help from the city in general.

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In addition to revisions to access to security cameras, Chief Scott believes it is essential to have real consequences for criminals, as well as having more officers to staff his service.

“We need 400 agents to get to where we should be. Our agents are working long hours and we have to do what is necessary to try to prevent these things from happening,” Scott said.

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