PINECREST (CBSMiami) – Jennifer Nicole Lee returned from a museum trip with her children last month to discover that burglars had pried a 250 pound safe from her home.READ MORE: RNC Donors Gather To Hear Trump, Others In Palm Beach, The GOP's 'New Political Power Center'
“It was in the middle of the day, broad daylight, traffic was up and down and nobody noticed anything,” she told CBS4 News.
A neighbor’s security camera captured the thieves lugging the hefty safe to their getaway car.
Lee was among an overflow crowd that jammed Pinecrest Village Hall Monday night, demanding the council push back against a spate of burglaries plaguing the community laced with luxury homes and opulent automobiles.
“I used to be a proud Pinecrest resident, and I’ve seen it deteriorate because of the lack of safety. We’re all living in fear,” Lee told council members.
The council listened – agreeing to hire five more cops for starters, and didn’t stop there.
While your car might get shot by an officer’s radar gun in Pinecrest, your license plate will soon get shot by a camera.
The town will install a license plate reader system that will capture the plate of every car that comes into the community and feed it into a computerized database.
Council member James McDonald sponsored the plate reader program that was approved unanimously.READ MORE: Florida Man Charged With Killing Girlfriend's 2-Year-Old Son
“It is a law enforcement tool for police, so that if a crime occurs, they can go back into the computer and find out the cars that have come in around that time,” McDonald told CBS4 News.
Not just the main entrances to Pinecrest will have cameras, every entrance – nearly fifty streets – will have them. Civil libertarians call it a slippery slope.
“Crime fighting is the justification for almost every intrusion on privacy,” said Howard Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “This is what the police want to do, the police want to know everything about everybody.”
The courts, though, have upheld the license plate cams.
“There’s no expectation of privacy in a public space. Anywhere you go in the country today, we have cameras,” McDonald said.
“It’s the unfortunate reality we live in,” he said, adding that security cameras played the key role in solving the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing.
And so, a town of pricey homes and cars, Pinecrest will have a pricey security camera system – costing upwards of a half million dollars.
“This is how we lose our rights in this country, by swallowing the rationale that this is going to help in some marginal way,” said the ACLU’s Simon.MORE NEWS: COVID In Florida: 6,906 New Cases, 50 Deaths Reported On Saturday
By law, the database of license plates will not be a public record, but could be subject to subpoena in all manner of lawsuits or nasty divorces, perhaps, when couples want to know each other’s movements.