Ridgeland surveillance cameras keeping an eye on crime

RIDGELAND, SC (WTOC) - It's been three months since surveillance cameras around the town of Ridgeland have been up and running.

So far, the $80,000 investment is already helping officers solve crimes. We've been following the story since the announcement last year.

There are 20 cameras strategically placed around town, recording 24 hours a day. Some rotate 360 degrees and others are fixated on certain locations, but one thing is for sure. With a department of only 14, these cameras are adding more eyes to the Ridgeland Police Department and decreasing the time it takes to solve cases.

"The suspect approached this lady while she was stopped in traffic, and started hitting it with what turned out to be a large metal pole."

It was a pole that smashed the car's back window, leaving the victim with just her side of the story, but the new eyes in the sky helped police piece the incident together.

"We used to have to go to various businesses where we knew they had surveillance cameras inside and outside the store. We would have to go to those businesses to catch little glimpses of something that may have happened outside," said Sgt. Chris McIntosh, Ridgeland PD.

Now, officers can watch the streets in real time, with pivoting cameras and playback that helps you narrow down not only time and day of an incident, but it's actual location.

"You can then take a region from the video that you're looking at, highlight that region, hit next. At this point, the system will automatically start looking for movement in that particular region, but it will alert you when movement is there," Sgt. McIntosh said.

Not only are the cameras rolling all the time, but officers don't have to be in the police department to watch what's going on. They can access the system from their computers, and even their smartphones.

The department says it also helps with officer safety because they can see what's going on before arriving at a scene.

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