Dozens of cameras slated to keep an eye on Savannah's crime hots - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Dozens of cameras slated to keep an eye on Savannah's crime hotspots

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police calls them force multipliers. Two dozen high-tech surveillance cameras will soon be keeping a watchful eye around the city, in an effort to reduce crime.

Savannah Alderman Brian Foster, At-Large Post 2, told WTOC the go-ahead has been given by the city manager and staff to begin the installation, and 24 should be up and running within the next eight to 10 weeks.

Foster said surveillance video tech keeps getting better and better, and more importantly for budget concerns, cheaper.

"We can see you at night, we have infrared capabilities now. We can see at longer ranges with higher definition," said Foster of the new cameras.

Foster said the City of Savannah will consult with Police Chief Jack Lumpkin, and his precinct commanders, to see where the new technology is needed most.

Foster said, "One of the things that I think we'll be able to do is to look at hot spots from a distance, where nobody will even know they're being watched. And we can watch them at night."

With four armed robberies this week, police have stepped up visibility in the downtown area. But they can't be everywhere at once.

"The cameras are a force multiplier. They are something we need, more than probably anything else right now," SCMPD Maj. Richard Zapal told WTOC this week.

Maj. Zapal said the more cameras they have at their disposal, the more they can see. And he added it is Chief Lumpkin's goal to have those cameras monitored 24/7.

Maj. Zapal said, "For example, in Forsyth Park, where you might not have an officer in one certain area, you've got a camera there. Where you can have one person watching ten cameras, which takes the place of ten officers standing there. Would I like to have those officers standing there, sure I would. But if you don't have them, I have gotten ten cameras, and can see a lot more that way.”

Alderman Foster said he believes the funding is there for the end goal of installing 200 cameras city-wide.  In the meantime, he said there are city assets that can be moved around to help cover the cost. 

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