Crypto mogul and Ripple co-founder, Chris Larsen, paid over $4 million to install 1,000 high-definition cameras on the streets of San Francisco. He claims his goal is to combat crime, specifically theft.

According to a report published by The New York Times, Larsen – who recently recovered from COVID-19 – decided to take up this project after a group of unknown men climbed into his garden in 2011 and cut the wires to his home security while his children were sleeping inside.

“Alternative” system for public security

Ripple’s executive chairman stated that he sees this as an alternative urban security system. The New York Times notes that, while San Francisco doesn’t have a high rate of violent crimes, property-related crimes have been a “headache” for many residents.

The network established by Larsen covers around 135 blocks of San Francisco. He also is paying for internet connections at some police stations, claiming that most stations don’t have decent internet service.

A police department spokesman clarified to the New York Times that:

“There is a process for the department to request footage from the party that manages the cameras. That party has the discretion of whether or not to release footage to S.F.P.D.”

San Francisco’s community in charge of monitoring the cameras

The report also explains how Larsen’s network works:

“Neighbors band together and decide where to put the cameras. They are installed on private property at the discretion of the property owner, and in San Francisco many home and business owners want them. The footage is monitored by the neighborhood coalition. The cameras are always recording.”

In a recent interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna, Ripple’s co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen said that the United States has been “slow to the game” in terms of experimenting, implementing, and regulating the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.