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InvisibleveggieM

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 14,138
Loc: Flag
Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest
    #9492165 - 12/25/08 03:53 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

December 24, 2008 - Houston Chronicle

Border cameras worth the cost?
Internet site nets one big drug bust, but advocates say payoff is deterrence

More than a month after the launch of a state-funded Web site that allows people to monitor footage from surveillance cameras along the Texas border, the effort has netted one drug bust of more than 500 pounds of marijuana, officials said.

Since the Internet site went live Nov. 19, more than 21,000 people have signed up as "virtual deputies" and Web traffic has topped more than 5 million hits, according to BlueServo, the company that runs the site.

The program allows "virtual deputies" to monitor activity on 13 cameras in South Texas and report suspicious activity through www.BlueServo.net, which automatically notifies local sheriff's departments via e-mail of the reports, said Donald Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition.

The surveillance program, funded with a $2 million grant from Gov. Rick Perry's office, scored its first and only drug seizure Nov. 28 with the discovery of 540 pounds of marijuana and the arrest of a suspected drug smuggler, Reay said. He declined to disclose the location of the bust or the agency involved, saying that would provide too much information about the camera's location.

Reay said the program is designed to focus primarily on border crime, not illegal immigration. The system does not directly notify U.S. Border Patrol of illegal activity, although deputies with the local sheriff's departments may call them if they choose, Reay said. The program does not track the number of referrals involving suspected illegal immigrants.

Reay also cautioned against just focusing on the number of seizures as a measure of success, saying the program is designed to have a deterrent effect.

"When people think there are cameras out there, they hesitate before they act," Reay said. "That means our communities are safer on our side of the border. To me that's a win-win."

But with its $2 million price tag, some critics have questioned whether taxpayers are getting results for their money.

El Paso Mayor John Cook said the program, so far, is "not a very good return on the investment."

"I really don't know of that many people who are going to spend their time monitoring a camera on the border as a pastime," Cook said. "Most people have something better to do."

The public response to the program so far has been "extraordinary," said Joe Milam, a spokesman for BlueServo, which runs the Web site and retains the rights to any advertising proceeds from the site.

"Virtual deputies are signing up from all over the United States," Milam said, citing a list that includes states from California to Florida to Ohio.

Most of the deputies, some 55 percent, live in Texas, according to survey information provided by the company. Houston ranks third-highest for the number of volunteers in Texas, after El Paso and Mission, the company reported.

Milam said the biggest measure of success is the satisfaction of the local sheriff's departments.

"It's going well enough that the sheriff's are smiling, which is a good thing," Milam said.

The Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition, which includes 20 sheriffs along the border, partnered with BlueServo to get the virtual border watch effort up and running.

Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West said Tuesday that his department is participating in the program, and will soon have a camera up and running in a known drug-trafficking area.

Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Perry's office, said Tuesday that the governor is pleased with the new program so far.

She said it's designed to deter crime, much like a surveillance camera in a bank lobby, or a police car parked on the side of the road.

"If you try to measure its success on the number of people that are caught or pounds of marijuana seized, you kind of miss the point," she said. "We want to keep people from committing crime in the first place."


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Offlinesuburbanned
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Registered: 02/20/08
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Re: Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest [Re: veggie]
    #9492174 - 12/25/08 04:00 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

whats the website


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InvisibleveggieM

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 14,138
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Re: Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest [Re: suburbanned]
    #9492180 - 12/25/08 04:03 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

It's in the article, but here it is again: http://www.blueservo.net


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Offlinesuburbanned
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Re: Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest [Re: veggie]
    #9493106 - 12/25/08 01:30 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

thanks im a high ass and just want to bust some illegals with dr00gz


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OfflineNobodyImportant
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Registered: 05/04/08
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Re: Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest [Re: suburbanned]
    #9493153 - 12/25/08 01:46 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

how the hell did they manage to spend 2 mil on 13 webcams

even if they were bulletproof and made of gold I couldnt see it costing that much

maybe they are talking about the money it costs to stream all that crap to so many people


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OfflineDrizzt396
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Re: Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest [Re: NobodyImportant]
    #9493422 - 12/25/08 03:34 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

NobodyImportant said:
how the hell did they manage to spend 2 mil on 13 webcams

even if they were bulletproof and made of gold I couldnt see it costing that much

maybe they are talking about the money it costs to stream all that crap to so many people




The site appears to be run by someone in the private sector. So they got paid 2 million probably because that was their quote for how much it would cost, and the governor of Texas probably signed the grant w/o contemplating whether or not it was a good price. Hell with that many hits the site itself has probably already generated enough in ad revenue to cover all the startup costs. What a waste of 2 mil in taxes.


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OfflineCryogenicz
what?
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Re: Webcams on Texas border costing $2 million for one arrest [Re: Drizzt396]
    #9493855 - 12/25/08 05:53 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Stop importing weed! Y'all need to be self sufficient!

-Graham


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