Police: Surveillance cameras affordable way to put more eyes on streets

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) – Over the next month or so, crews will start installing ten cameras surveillance cameras in Columbus.

Four cameras will go at 4th and Washington, three more at 11th and Washington, and one each at Morningside Park, 9th Street Park and at the Columbus Police Department training facility.  All police officers will need to monitor what’s happening in real time at those locations is take a look at their computer, smartphone or tablet.

Neighbors 24-Hour News 8 spoke with like the idea. They say  Columbus needs help.

“We’d go over there and kind of pick up the park a little bit and find syringes and things of that nature, “ said Robert, who lives near Morningside Park and preferred not to use his last name.

Patricia Christian has lived off of McClure Street for 23 years.  Thursday night, she said someone stole her GPS out of her car.

“I called the police and reported it this morning and they said there were quite a few break ins in the neighborhood last night,” said Christian.

9th Street Park had the first city camera installed last spring.

“When I moved here in 2009, nobody would sit on their porch in fear of guns, violence, You name it, we have it,” said neighbor Christopher Rutan.

Although that camera only took still photos, police says they’ve seen a difference since it went on.  Now they say they’re joining other law enforcement agencies in moving forward with technology.

“This is a trend that has been starting in larger cities like Chicago and New York and it’s starting to filter down to smaller cities.  We’re just fortunate enough to be on the leading edge of this technology,” said Deputy Chief Todd Harry.

One officer costs about $74,000 to add to the force.  The ten cameras will cost $89,000, with some additional maintenance fees over the years.  According to Deputy Chief Harry, it’s an affordable way to put more eyes on the streets.

“We can be sitting across town and monitoring these cameras from the laptops in our cars, smart phones, iPads, things like that,” said Harry.

Neighbors 24-Hour News 8 spoke with say they welcome the change and hope these cameras make a safer neighborhood for their families.

The city will sign off on the cameras Tuesday.  They cameras should then should be installed and active in about five weeks.

Video is recorded and saved for two weeks, but clips can be accessed, pulled and permanently archived at any time.  The cameras also have an alerting system that will tell police when someone is in parks after hours.

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