By Velena Jones

MODESTO (CBS13) — Jayden’s Journey in Modesto is one of ten dispensaries in Stanislaus county that will soon be located near new county cameras designed to spot stolen cars and help prevent crime.

“This place is not your typical dispensary, our customers are usually senior citizens and people that are really sick. I’m really not worried about it. If you’re not committing a crime,” explained owner Jason David

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In the five years since Jayden’s Journey has been located near Pentecost Drive and Kiernan Avenue, he said they have not had a problem with crime. While David isn’t worried the extra security will drive his customers away—he wonders if the money to pay for the cameras through cannabis taxes could’ve been used a different way.

“We have paid a lot of taxes,” explained David. ” We could’ve done a lot of other things to help out people that really need it than putting up a camera that once and a while you might catch a criminal.

Stanislaus Board of Supervisors approved using 16 enhanced license plate reader cameras similar to these and placing them in main intersections of unincorporated areas. 10 of those cameras are being placed near dispensaries and legal grow sites. Their location is specifically picked because tax money generated from these sites, is what is helping to pay for the over $200,000 it will take to purchase and run the cameras.

“It was important to me that we use this money for these folks that really went out on a limb, the Municipal Measuring Council went out on a limb, to provide security for the whole population in those areas,” explained District Supervisor Vito Chiesa.

Chiesa said it is already a tool the county has seen work in other areas where cameras are already installed.

“The San Joaquín valley is very high in car thefts, it’s something that has been a problem for decades,” he explained. “It’s an opportunity to try to cut down on car thefts. We have seen a big decrease and I would say this is one of the tools that helped us do that,” said Chiesa.

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While some have raised concerns over cannabis consumers’ privacy, the Stanislaus Sheriff’s Department claims cameras will only be used to target criminals.

“It’s to increase our visibility, make our presence known, and to give us an advantage,” explained Sgt. Luke Schwartz. “We are not using it as a mechanism of invading people’s privacy. We are using it for people who are breaking the law,” he said.

The areas are also being selected based on heavy traffic and in some cases less law enforcement patrols.

“These are areas that we see an increasing presence of vehicle, pedestrian traffic—they are main arteries and corridors through the community,” said Schwartz.

A new tool to track down criminals, the county hopes will decrease crime everywhere.

“It’s all about safety and security of our community,” said Chiesa.

The new cameras will be installed at the following locations:

  • Kiernan Avenue & Pentecost Drive Modesto
  • Kiernan Avenue & McHenry Avenue Modesto
  • Pelandale Avenue & Detroit Lane Modesto
  • Yosemite Boulevard & Frazine Road Empire
  • North Santa Fe Avenue & Main Street Denair
  • Howard Road & near Ingram Creek Road
  • Westley Keyes Road & Faith Homes Road Keyes
  • West 5th Street & Highway 33 Crows Landing
  • Hickman Road & Lake Road Hickman Yosemite Boulevard & Conejo Avenue Modesto
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The new cameras are expected to be in use by February or March of 2022.