Surveillance cameras eye criminals in Georgetown

ST. GEORGE, SC (WCSC) - The Georgetown Police Department is using a high-tech tool to keep an eye on criminals. There are two new surveillance cameras on city streets.

One camera was installed at the intersection of Front and Broad Streets, which is a high traffic area of the city. The second camera was installed at the Georgetown Housing Authority on Anthuan Maybank Boulevard.

Police say they are dealing with many mailbox break ins there.

"People are less likely to commit a crime on video than they are if there's not," said Georgetown Police Capt. Nelson Brown.

Brown said the department decided to install the cameras after seeing how well they worked in Columbia.

"We're not violating anybody's civil liberties. It's no difference between the camera watching or if a police officer was standing here watching," Brown said.

One resident who works in the city wonders if the cops are being a little too nosy.

"George Orwell, I think, big brother watching kind of thing? I'm a big fan of less government, not more," said resident Clay Talbot.

For now, officers can monitor the cameras by looking at their smart phones. Eventually the plan is to put laptop computers in their patrol cars so they can see what's going on.

The police department can also review the tapes on a DVR. The cameras are getting mixed reviews from local businesses.

"We just feel it is a great addition to the block. It's good to have constant security I think these days," said Michelle Giarratano, who owns a deli.

"You see videos of people committing crimes all the time and they know there's video cameras everywhere, so I don't think it really stops people," said Kathy Maleckar, who owns a picture frame store.

Brown said the police department is using the cameras free of charge for one year. The department is hoping to use a block grant to get more surveillance cameras.

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