Fayetteville could soon install security cameras

August 14, 2013 3:28:51 PM PDT
Fayetteville's chief of police believes an extra set of eyes in the sky could help him fight crime. Chief Harold Medlock says he wants to install security cameras throughout the city.

In private businesses and on public buildings, surveillance cameras have become a way of life. Now, Medlock wants to put cameras in crime ridden areas.

"I think it's a great start to preventing crime and deterring it as well," said Fayetteville City Council member Bobby Hurst.

Hurst and other city council members were briefed on the police chief's plan earlier this week.

"I think it's an excellent idea," said Hurst. "We were very fortunate to get the justice assistance grant of $102,000 that the chief says would put five cameras and a system set up he wants to have installed by the end of this quarter,"

Some city leaders say the sooner the better. Already this year, Fayetteville has recorded 17 homicides. The police department is working to reduce gun violence, prostitution and other street level crimes.

Fayetteville resident Brian Barnette likes the idea.

"I think it would give people definitely a feeling of more security," said Barnette.

A lot of cities around the country already use surveillance cameras to help fight crime. Charlotte, where Medlock worked in the police department in the past, has more than 130 cameras in operation in high crime areas.

The chief now wants to do the same in Fayetteville, but he says residents don't need to worry about being spied on or losing their privacy.

"We don't have our police officers in the cars going around and looking in people's windows," said Medlock. "We don't have police officers in cars looking with binoculars in folks' windows or anything else. What happens in public is public. So, you should conduct yourselves appropriately when you are in public."

Medlock says the cameras won't replace officers, but help identify suspects in street level crimes like gun violence, drugs, and other street level crimes.

Medlock hopes to install the first cameras at Festival Park mainly for crowd control like the Dogwood Festival. He hopes to have hundreds more up and running in the next five years.

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