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Overview of the Video Surveillance Ordinance
The Video Surveillance Ordinance and resolution calls for certain businesses in El Cerrito to use a continuous digital surveillance system that records images in color. It establishes standards regarding the type and number of cameras, as well as the media used for recording. For example, VHS-tape based systems often do not produce images clear enough to be useful for the police when investigating a crime. A quality video surveillance system helps the police to apprehend and prosecute criminals.

The number and location of cameras depends on the store, and concerns about privacy have been taken into account. The minimum coverage would be for cameras dedicated to the entrances and exits to the establishment, each register, loading dock areas, customer or employee parking areas, and the entrances and exits to the parking lot.

The types of businesses that are required to install and operate a continuous digital surveillance system under the new ordinance are stores that:

  • sell beer, wine or distilled spirits to be consumed off the premises;
  • sell firearms;
  • are second hand dealers (e.g. pawnbrokers, or coin dealers);
  • banks;
  • check cashing businesses;
  • convenience stores;
  • carry-out food and drink establishments; and
  • shopping centers

Read the El Cerrito Video Surveillance Ordinance
Read the Resolution regarding minimum technical standards 



History of the Video Surveillance Ordinance
Video Surveillance Act Meeting for Businesses - May 14, 2008
To assist those businesses in successfully meeting the deadline to comply with the Act, the Police Department hosted an informational meeting on May 14, 2008. Business owners were encouraged to attend the meeting to learn about the background of the Act, the technical standards required (such as type of cameras, etc) and information about the City's financial assistance program available to small businesses which are required or voluntarily want to conform to the ordinance. Police Officers will were also available to talk one-on-one and answer specific questions about the Act.

  • May 14, 2008 Meeting for Businesses Letter

City Council Meeting  of October 1, 2007


At the October 1, 2007 City Council meeting, the City Council adopted the Video Surveillance Ordinance and a resolution establishing the minimum technical standards for video surveillance systems applicable to certain El Cerrito businesses, as well as established a financial assistance program.

Dwayne Dalman, Economic Development Specialist (along with Lori Trevino, Economic Development/Redevelopment Manager and Chief Scott Kirkland) presented a loan program for small businesses which are required or voluntarily want to conform to the ordinance. The public was encouraged to attend the meeting. The Council unanimously approved the loan program and appropiated $165,000 towards the program, most of which are redevelopment funds. The City Council adopted Resolution No. 2007-82 and Redevelopment Agency Resolution No. 571.

  • Read the Oct. 1 Agenda Bill regarding the loan program for businesses
  • Redevelopment Agency Resolution 571  - establishing a video surveillance system loan program and appropriating $150,000 in redevelopment funds to establish the program for businesses within the redevelopment area.
  • City Council Resolution 2007-82  - establishing a video surveillance system loan program and appropriating $15,000 in general funds to establish the program for businesses outside the redevelopment area.

City Council Meeting of September 17, 2007
At the September 17, 2007 City Council meeting, Chief of Police Scott Kirkland presented to the City Council for their consideration the Video Surveillance Ordinance and a resolution establishing the minimum technical standards for video surveillance systems applicable to certain El Cerrito businesses. The public was encouraged to attend the meeting.
  • Notice of Sept. 17 meeting (postcard)
  • Read the Sept. 17 Agenda Bill
  • Read the update letter about the actions taken by the City Council on September 17. (This letter was sent to businesses/residents on the "Keep Me Informed" mailing list.)

City Council Work Session of August 20, 2007
The El Cerrito City Council held a study session on August 20, 2007 regarding video surveillance systems for certain businesses within the City. At the study session, Chief of Police Scott Kirkland talked about a proposed digital video surveillance system.
  • Agenda Bill for August 20, 2007 City Council study session
  • Attachment 1 (examples of other ordinances)
  • Attachment 2 (sample of media reports)
  • PowerPoint Presentation of August 20, 2007

"Safety is Good for Business" Forums
Before the City Council study session in August, the Police Department held a series of forums in July as part of the public outreach effort regarding the commercial surveillance program.
  • Flyer for "Safety is Good for Business" Forums - July 2007
  • Agenda for "Safety is Good for Business" Forums - July 2007
  • Survey for businesses (distributed at Forums)



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