General Crime

* Joan Rosenthal Murder Starts Talks About City Camera System In Tiburon

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The murder of Joan Rosenthal, who was found dead at her home Tuesday, has revived discussion about a proposal to install surveillance cameras to photograph the rear license plate of each vehicle that enters and leaves the town of 8,776 residents.Four or five cameras would be installed on Tiburon Boulevard to the north and two more on Paradise Drive south on the peninsula. The $150,000 project’s feasibility study is still under review and is scheduled to go before the Town Council in November, Town Manager Peggy Curran said this afternoon.Curran and Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin, who proposed the surveillance cameras, said they would be a tool that provides leads to solve crimes in Tiburon, most of which are committed by non-residents between midnight and dawn, according to a fact sheet prepared in March.”It would have been an invaluable investigative tool,” San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said today.Rohrbacher is assisting Tiburon police with media inquiries about the murder of 75-year-old Rosenthal who was shot once in the head.The cameras also would provide a real-time license plate alert system in the event of an abduction or other crimes in progress.The town needs the permission of the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to mount the cameras on their poles on the side of the road, Curran said. The town has also proposed mounting the cameras in the center median but needs the permission of the California Department of Transportation. Caltrans’ policy prohibits installing the cameras on center medians, Curran said.”The technical issues are still being resolved,” Curran said. Belvedere and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, which also would benefit from the surveillance system, are partners in the $150,000 project, Curran said. Grant money also will help pay for the project, she said. Tiburon residents weighed in on the issue in March. Some are concerned about privacy issues, arguing the cameras are intrusive, Curran said. Most of the negative feedback, however, is from people who don’t live in Tiburon, she said.The cameras will not photograph the drivers of the vehicles and a license plate on a vehicle in public is not private, Curran noted.Rohrbacher said police have not yet disclosed when Rosenthal was shot but they are asking neighbors to report any strange or suspicious people or cars they may have seen in the neighborhood between 6 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday. A friend checking on Rosenthal’s welfare found her in a pool of blood around 9:30 a.m.Homicide investigators should finish processing evidence at the scene tonight, Rohrbacher said. There was no sign of a burglary at the house. Rosenthal’s friends say she suffered from health problems recently but police have ruled out suicide. Whether or not the cameras, had they been in operation Tuesday would have helped identify a suspect is debatable. “It doesn’t prove anything other than a car passed by at one particular point. It’s a system that generates leads,” Curran said.”No one is suggesting it (the camera system) would have solved this crime,” she said regarding Rosenthal’s murder. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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