Security cameras are installed by a Tyco Integrated Security technician Monday at the corner of Main and Port Watson streets in Cortland. The installation of eight new cameras started Monday, with the remainder to go up by next week, Deputy Police Chief Paul Sandy said.
The Cortland City Police Department began installing eight new security cameras downtown last week.
When the city Common Council approved the project in July, it authorized the police department to spend $50,000 to begin installing 15 new cameras along Main Street.
The installation of eight of the 15 new cameras began last week and should be finished by next week, said Deputy Police Chief Paul Sandy. The remaining seven cameras will be installed in the spring.
The cameras are being installed by Tyco, a security company that also designed the software program the police use with the cameras, Sandy said. The new digital cameras send a wireless signal to the city police station, and can be monitored at all times.
The new cameras will expand the current system, which entails four cameras downtown that were installed in June 2015. The original four cameras are located at the intersections of West Court and Main streets, Court and Main streets, Port Watson and Main streets and Tompkins and Main streets.
“These cameras have basically two functions,” Sandy said — deterrence and recording.
If someone knows they are being filmed, they are less likely to do something, Sandy said, and if an incident does occur, officers can review the recording.
In the time that the four have been in place, the city police have seen fewer major incidents and have been able to gather more information during investigations, according to Sandy.
“It’s hard to tell the level of deterrence the cameras make but they have led to more information gathered,” he said.
The eight new cameras will cover the area from Williams Street to West Court Street, Sandy said.
The area between Williams and West Court streets was chosen because of the high number of police calls at those locations, Sandy said, due to the large number of people that the bars and restaurants bring to that area.
“It’s all based on heightened call activity,” Sandy said.
The cost of installing the eight cameras comes in just below the $50,000 that the Common Council approved, Sandy said, and when it comes time to install the next seven, the city police will seek another $40,000 to do the job.
With the addition to the current system of the 15 new cameras, there will be 19 cameras downtown by the end of next spring, Sandy said. He hopes the department can install another seven cameras to add to the others, with the goal of eventually having 26 cameras set up downtown by the end of 2018.
Mayor Brian Tobin this morning lauded the efforts to enhance safety of residents.
Main Street, Tobin said, has become the place where people go to eat and spend time, so protecting people there is critical.
Even though the cameras are in place to help monitor downtown they are not meant to be an invasion of privacy. “We are not spying on the public with these (the cameras),” Sandy said.
The cameras are fixed and they can’t pan around, Sandy pointed out.