Summerville approves new surveillance system for downtown

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SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) – Smile, you’re in front of the camera. Summerville City Council has approved a plan to install 12 security cameras in the downtown area to help prevent crime before it happens.

The cameras will cover the city center around Hutchinson Square as well as the business districts. Cameras are simply the last tool the Summerville Police Department has requested in recent months to promote safety.

“We have a new reception team (team 6) that our agency has just set up to focus on the business districts, parks and walking trails of the city,” said Lieutenant Chris Hirsch of the SPD . “The five-member team performs property checks, meets with traders to help them create safety plans, and informs them of crime trends for awareness purposes.”

The city already uses a limited number of cameras around the town hall and the outdoor parking lot. Hirsch says all cameras will send a live feed directly to the police dispatch center where they will be recorded and used to help solve crimes.

Police Chief Douglas Wright says they saw an increase in crime from last year, but suggests it’s an expected bump since last year’s covid restrictions made rallies and tourism less common.

“You have more road collisions. You have no more people outside. Subconsciously your crime will go up, ”Wright said. “In the business district, you see more shop shelves, vandalism, drunkenness. Things like that. Having our agents in the area is obviously a visible deterrent, as well as cameras to capture some of that surveillance footage to help us do justice in some of these situations. “

Wright says the additional officers and surveillance cameras are much more geared towards preparing for Summerville’s future as more people move to the area, than dealing with a current wave of crime. .

“Not just for crime, but they can help monitor the flow of live traffic from our dispatch center. We are planning for the future and cutting edge technology is a part of that, ”said Wright. “This is a first step in what I hope will be a future effort for our agency to have cameras along our walking trails and some of our parks, so people know they have a watchful eye. To protect them.”

Wright rejects any harmful notion about the surveillance system.

“Everywhere you go right now, you’re being filmed, whether it’s surveillance footage, DOT cameras, or other people’s cameras. You are filmed everywhere and most of the time you don’t know it at all. We’re making it known that we’re going to be filming in areas, public spaces, to help keep people safe. “

On Monday, the board unanimously approved the purchase order with Johnson Controls for the installation of the cameras for $ 54,524.71. Wright says they should be up and running before the end of the year.

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