Why 32 cameras monitor a SE Portland neighborhood

Security cameras in SE Portland neighborhood captures confrontation between homeowner, thief

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Footage from a security camera that’s part of dozens in a Southeast Portland neighborhood helped lead to the arrest of a suspected thief.

Those cameras, however, have also raised some concerns about privacy.

Bob Spicher, Jr. said his dad always took it upon himself to watch out for the neighborhood, and after his passing four years, ago Spicher said he felt it was his duty to take over his dad's mission, July 14, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Bob Spicher, Jr. said his dad always took it upon himself to watch out for the neighborhood, and after his passing four years, ago Spicher said he felt it was his duty to take over his dad’s mission, July 14, 2014. (KOIN 6)

They’re part of a surveillance network of camera on homes up and down a neighborhood block with one man monitoring all of them.

Bob Spicher, Jr., the man watching all of those cameras, found himself in a confrontation early Saturday morning with a suspected thief.

“He didn’t say anything when he came to the door and that was another suspicious, like, uh oh,” said Spicher.

One of the surveillance cameras captured Spicher armed with a gun running off the man who Spicher said already had arms full of stolen goods when he answered his door.

“It’s all caught on camera, what are you going to do?” Spicher said.

Authorities said after the confrontation and calls to police Saturday morning, 27-year-old Aaron Jones was arrested just down the street on a probation violation and possession of meth.

But, why has this neighborhood block been hooked up with more than 30 security cameras?

Spicher said his dad always took it upon himself to watch out for the neighborhood.

“I’ve taken it to the next level,” he said. “Our piece of Earth my dad said right here, took the dirt.”

His father passed away four years ago, and Spicher said he felt it was his duty to take over his dad’s mission.

“I took some of my inheritance – about $9,000 – and I hooked up the neighborhood,” said Spicher.

Spicher now looks after all 32 cameras installed.

“Not everybody was all about it at first. They were wondering what I was up to maybe if I had an ulterior motive,” said Spicher.

After problems with car prowlers and property crimes, most neighbors became more accepting of the idea.

“It makes you feel a lot safer,” said Maxine Hertel, a resident. “If anything happens, then you can just ask him and he’ll go back and run the tape and see if he can find out anything.”

Police said surveillance video is a great help to them and commended Spicher for his work.

However, Spicher said he knows some may have privacy concerns and question whether he has something to hide.

“There is nothing to hide, I live under a microscope. It’s my alibi, but it’s also a model,” said Spicher.

Spicher also acknowledged that after seeing his confrontation with a suspected thief, some may think he’s some kind of aggressive vigilante.

He said he is not, pointing out that it was 3 a.m. and he thought the man was going to enter his home.

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