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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Police department to install security cameras downtown for crime prevention

The city police will be adding new sets of eyes downtown to control crime during the weekends.

Cameras will be added to the intersections of Main and Court streets and Wooster and Prospect Streets as well as Lot 1 [behind Uptown Downtown] and Lot 4 [behind Pisanello’s Pizza], said Maj. Tony Hetrick, deputy chief of the Bowling Green Police Division. They will be installed by the end of the month.

The decision to add the new cameras came when police identified hot spots downtown where the most crime-related calls came in, Hetrick said.

“The cameras will be used for fights, disorderly conducts, drug activity and vandalism,” he said. “We’re not using them to look for drunkenness. There’s a lot of that anyway.”

When police get a call about a crime in areas where the new cameras are, dispatch will be able to control the camera and pan, tilt and zoom it in the direction of the crime, Hetrick said.

While police currently have cameras on the four corners of the intersection of Main and Wooster streets, they are 10 years old and outdated, Hetrick said.

These new cameras have a higher resolution. This will allow police to zoom in on people and see faces clearly, depending on the atmospheric conditions, said David McDonald, IT manager for the city.

“We’re building this with the capability of expansion,” he said. “We will develop more areas downtown and can link additional cameras.”

While police benefit from increased surveillance, so do the surrounding businesses.

“The cameras easily will [decrease crime] because we frequently get fights outside and that’s true of all bars,” said Seth Childers, bartender at Uptown Downtown.

Two cameras are located near Uptown Downtown, one on Court and Main streets and one behind it in Lot 1.

“It won’t solve the whole situation, but it will definitely help out,” Childers said.

Some students also think the new sets of cameras will lower some crime on the weekends.

“People naturally watch out for cameras when thinking of committing crimes,” said junior Brianna Collins. “[Crime] will decrease a little; it’s a good safety measure.”

One concern Collins has is if police would be able to reach the crime in time once they see it on the cameras.

“It won’t help if you’re not there,” she said.

Along with the high resolution, the cameras can also record so police can watch footage of crime again for investigations, Hetrick said.

The cameras cost $10,000, but police received a grant from the Bowling Green Community Development Fund to pay for half the cost, he said. The other half will be paid with police budget money.

“People will feel more secure,” Hetrick said. “It’s safe already, but this is just a thing to add to that.”

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