That’s 10 times more per camera than what a local school district intends to pay for theirs this coming year.
Tracy Unified School District is figuring out how many surveillance cameras it can buy with $500,000 of a $43.1 million bond voters approved last fall to fix up the city’s oldest schools. Cindy Minter, who’s in charge of technology for the district, said she’s looking to buy 200 cameras to install at 20 Tracy schools. That’s 200 more than they have now — the only district buildings with video surveillance are the district offices.
Money for the city’s cameras comes from $20 billion in bond debt voters passed in 2006 to pay for new roadways and improve public transportation. Tracy transportation planners have yet to decide what types of cameras, monitors and software to buy, said city management analyst Ed Lovell.
“That’s something we’ll look into a little later, at least when we have the money in our hands,” Lovell said. “It’s on its way, we’ve been approved, but it’s not actually here yet.”
Construction on the $12 million train and bus station is expected to finish in mid-November. That’s when Lovell said the city will start shopping around for cameras. It’s safe to say that they’ll get installed both inside and outside the station within a year it opening, he added.
In the meantime, the city has to decide exactly how much it should spend on each camera, whether they’ll be fixed or mobile, how much they should zoom in on things and what type of software should go along with them. Lovell said the city will consider how much surveillance tape will need to be stored and whether to buy software that would flag suspicious activity.
“There are a lot of variables,” he said. “Depending on what you need them to do, the price could fluctuate. But we’re looking at four or five for the transit station.”
The most expensive part of buying security cameras is buying the software to store the footage, said Minter, who has researched surveillance cameras for three years now, ever since the district started tossing around the idea of another school bond.
“For cameras, you can pay anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 or more,” she said. “But for storage, well that can easily take you up into the $100,000 range.”
The cameras have to be of a high enough quality that they’d identify an intruder from far away or at night, she said.
“Otherwise, what’s the point?” she asked. “You don’t want to capture some blurry shape — you want to see the person’s face.”
Ideally, she said there would be 500 surveillance cameras in Tracy Unified. The district plans to apply for school safety grants to supplement the bond money.
•Contact Tracy Press reporter Jennifer Wadsworth at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.