The fight against graffiti is getting an unexpected boost in the form of ROTA (Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority) surveillance cameras funded by a grant issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
The project is the culmination of the grant, issued in the amount of $140,517 two years ago, but held up by unforeseen obstacles.
“I never imagined it would take this long to get it finished,” Donna Bridges, ROTA transit coordinator, said of the installations. “But we had some glitches and obstacles.”
As part of the project, two cameras and a monitor were installed in Riverbank near the Galaxy Theater where the images can be viewed by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and four cameras and one monitor will be installed in Oakdale at various bus shelters, including the shelter on Highway 108. The monitor will be installed at the Oakdale Police Department.
Because Highway 108 is a state-owned highway and the poles are owned by PG&E, permits were needed to finish the installation along the highway. Bridges is hopeful the necessary paperwork will be completed by week’s end so that installation can be completed by Sept. 30. The entire project must be completed by March as per the grant guidelines.
“PG&E has been very accommodating,” Bridges said. “And because we have to shut down a portion of the highway, Caltrans said the work has to be completed at night.”
So expect a few road delays, said George Gonzales, Delta Wireless field technician.
“It shouldn’t be too bad, because it’ll be at night but yes, there will be road work that will slow things down a bit.”
The surveillance cameras have worked wonders for the Galaxy Theater bus shelter in terms of graffiti, said Bridges.
“We were having lots of issues with graffiti before the camera installation,” she said. “But we don’t see it in Riverbank the way we did before.”
The timing is perfect for Oakdale, which has been experiencing an upsurge in graffiti and gang tagging throughout the city.
“We saw a big change in the amount of graffiti,” Bridges said.
The bus shelter on Highway 108 by Wood Avenue that was destroyed when a vehicle crashed through it, will be replaced next year.
The cameras will also help police officers identify perpetrators of other crimes within the camera’s range.
“We’re glad to have these cameras. They are a big deterrent to crime,” Bridges said.