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JENSEN BEACH, Fla. – Imagine going for a romantic stroll on the beach with your loved one, perhaps even giving a kiss, when suddenly you’re blasted with a bright light and a voice from above warning against having sex on the beach.
Such a scenario is a strong possibility in one South Florida county where officials are looking to install “talking” video cameras to warn and/or catch people engaged in amorous relations.
Camera already in use at Jensen Beach Park in Martin County, Fla. The county is considering voice warnings to deter people from having sex on the beaches
“I’m all for it,” Martin County Commission Chairman Michael DiTerlizzi told the Palm Beach Post.
DiTerlizzi first proposed putting Web cams at beaches after several recent arrests of men soliciting men for sex at county beaches.
“Anything that deters that kind of activity is going to be good,” he said.
David Graham, the assistant to the county administrator, says FlashCAM devices sense motion and then flash a bright light.
He said once activated, the cameras issue a pre-recorded verbal warning to let people know they are under surveillance. One minute later, the recording commences.
Michael DiTerlizzi, chairman of Martin County Commission
The $5,500 cameras, made by California-based Q-Star Technology, are solar powered and can be connected to light poles or even trees along the shores.
The idea is already getting some heat on the Post’s website.
“This is a definite violation of our civil rights,” writes Philip Meade. “Most of the time the cameras will be observing the bodies of scantily clad men and women who are always on the beach and it is a violation of their rights. Besides, since when is it hurting anyone for two consenting adults to have sex? When there is no one else on the beach then leave them the hell alone. Our politicians are a bunch of sick bastards to even consider this perverted activity.”
Other comments include:
Consideration of the talking cameras comes in the wake of a series of sex-related crimes at public parks.
According to the Post, a sheriff’s office sting in July caught six men at two county beaches on charges of either exposing themselves to undercover officers or soliciting them for sex.
Last weekend, a Martin County teacher was arrested and charged with exposing himself to an undercover deputy.
The call for surveillance also comes after several high-profile arrests statewide and nationally involving elected officials soliciting sex in bathrooms.
DiTerlizzi wants cameras watching the beaches and parking lots, but not in the public restrooms, saying that would be an invasion of privacy.
Similar cameras are already in use in Los Angeles to crack down on graffiti vandals.
“It serves as a very good deterrent. That’s the key, really,” said city council spokesman Ben Golombek, noting his city has not used the cameras to tape sex crimes.
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