More Hoboken Big Brothers watching…

1/7/2010 Update:

They can see your every move!

Updating this entry from 2008 with some additional video surveillance cameras that were installed along Washington Street.

How do you feel about all the video points the city has? Safer? More violated?

See previous updates after the jump!

11/4/2008 Update:

You just paid for more cameras

Here’s another reason why you’re getting a 47% tax hike. More toys for the boys! Pushed by top brass at the Hoboken PD and approved by Mayor David Roberts and his Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Peter Cammarano, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent to mount more spy cameras on poles.

hoboken big brother spy cameras installed city wide - More Hoboken Big Brothers watching...

On Monday, a large mysterious crew of workers with unmarked vans was seen around the city, including in front of the CVS at Newark and Washington (as well as by McDonald’s). According to the local news rag, the system is being installed by a company called PackeTalk. How did they get the contract? Nobody seems to know.

When questioned about the “Big Brother” aspect of this system in Hoboken, PackeTalk CEO Tamer Zakhery pointed to a drop in crime in East Orange after cameras were installed there. EAST ORANGE??? That city has one of the highest crime rates in the state while Hoboken has one of the lowest urban crime rates. Even during Hoboken’s worst days it’s never been as dangerous as East Orange, Irvington or Newark.

What do you think? Are these cameras just as much of a scam as the SWAT team was? Maybe almost as big of a scam as the missing million dollars at the Hoboken Parking Utility? Will they do anything more than put money in someone’s pocket and allow the government to spy on us? Whether you are a taxpayer or one of the city employees who could soon be laid off, doesn’t this waste of $200,000 (or more) make you angry?

Many of my contacts suggest using these cameras not for street crime – but rather for city hall crime, extended smoke breaks, and year-long summer hours. Odds are 1 to 4 that city employees now use the north side entrance to get into city hall!

Just another example of how Mayor Roberts and his team managed to more than double spending in Hoboken since 2001.

See all previous “Big Brother” updates below…

10/31/2008 Update:

I guess the “weekend project” from last week was a giant bust!

However, one Hoboken411 reader – painter Frank Hanavan – found an array of cameras installed on the “giant toilet tower” over at the Stevens property on (about) 6th and Sinatra Drive.

Five cameras? What are they looking for? Who owns them?

What are they monitoring?

“I noticed all these security cameras on the stairs on “Big John” down by the waterfront. It looks like there is a camera on every level. I count five cameras in this one shot!

I know “Big John” is full of plumbing. Maybe they are worried all the recently unemployed investment bankers will try to break in to steal the copper pipes?”

hoboken big brother camera stevens sinatra park - More Hoboken Big Brothers watching...


A couple weeks ago – the Hoboken Reporter ran a story about cameras that the police are using to “Make the city safer.”

Here’s a quick list of brief observations about this new system – then see my Hoboken411 Reader Weekend Project!

hoboken big brother cameras installed city wide - More Hoboken Big Brothers watching...

  • I’m a little leery of the company Hoboken chose: PackeTalk – Judging from their website, it seems to be a rather small operation. And what, no “news” updates in over 4 1/2 years? Doesn’t sound right. Why did they get chosen over a more reputable company?
  • The story mentioned “OEM personnel are trying to compile and verify contact information for the more than 55,000 residents” – One – they cannot even notify Hoboken residents what’s wrong with the water, so I wish them good luck. Additionally – How much do you want to bet – that they’d never use that information in ways that would benefit residents MONETARILY? Like calling or texting residents when “Temporary No Parking” signs are put up near their cars???
  • More than 50 Cameras. Now I’ve actually heard the police dispatcher communicate with officers in the field, and “seeing” them (or the suspects) on the monitors at HQ. Very cool – and it sounds like it’s already helping the city fight crime.
  • The article also mentioned a bunch of loudspeakers – that would be used in case of big emergency. While I think this is good, I believe they should at least TEST them once fully installed – notify the residents (warn them), that a emergency broadcast test will occur. Otherwise, we won’t know what it is – nor where to find them.

Your Weekend Project: Find the cameras

I’ve was milling around a bit for the past few days – trying to spot exactly where these cameras are. I’ve spotted a few (and some might be privately owned) – but I’m curious as to where this many cameras are installed.

One location that really frustrated me – was Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I’ve overheard at least TWICE that the police dispatcher could “see” that location – and for the life of me I couldn’t spot it…

Can you find that one, and the rest of these “EYES IN THE SKY??”

Below is a photo gallery/slide-show that shows some of the known locations I took pictures of:

[PHOTO GALLERY – 17 total photos – hold mouse over to navigate]

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you could be right
you could be right
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 9:40 am

Dammed if you do, Dammed if you Don’t!
You, as a victim, will love the cameras when the Police can find the actor after reviewing the photo from the camera.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 7:49 pm

if this cuts crime, $100,000 isn’t a lot to spend. I’m sure there are much bigger wastes than to whine about this one.

the council DID approve the loudspeaker aspect, which people have said for years is necessary to get out info about water outages, etc….wonder when theyll start using it

Reply to  P3rdWest
Thursday, January 7, 2010 6:36 pm

May be a it late, just noticed this in the thread, but you wanna know what is even cheaper than some damned loudspeaker?

A link on the city website where residents can register their email or mobile phone number so they can get a text message or email when something like this happens.

In response to P3rdWest who said:

if this cuts crime, $100,000 isn’t a lot to spend. I’m sure there are much bigger wastes than to whine about this one.

the council DID approve the loudspeaker aspect, which people have said for years is necessary to get out info about water outages, etc….wonder when theyll start using it

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 6:42 pm

maybe more cameras = less need for active police. budget savings?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 3:57 pm

[quote comment=”116774″]hobokenj, the City Council did NOT approve this expenditure. This is another Roberts/HPD special project that has nothing to do with “Beth and crew” as you put it.

Roberts and his bloated Office of Ememrgency Management working on orders left over from Chief LaBruno put this project together with no approval from teh city council.[/quote]

Thanks for the info. But since that time where is the council to say ok, Roberts snuck this in we have a major tax hike. All approvals for any work made in the past year needs to be reviewed. No ck to any vendor goes out woithout approval. I know my theory is easier said than done. there are guidelines and laws. Buit I cant believe ther is nothing that can be done to stoip the bleeding here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 2:25 pm

S.E. corner of 13th and Washington has a new eye in the sky as well.

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