Richmond County sheriff supports video cameras downtown, in high-crime areas

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Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he would love to follow in Atlanta’s footsteps and install cameras across the county to catch criminals in the act.

The Atlanta City Council recently approved a multi-million dollar video integration center that would compile and analyze footage from as many as 500 cameras.

“It’s one of the going things to assist law enforcement,” Strength said Tuesday.

Traffic engineers are already using cameras across the county to observe traffic patterns.

After speaking with several county commissioners, Strength said he thinks there’s support for more cameras downtown and in high-crime areas.

However, it would be pricey in a time when funding is difficult.

Too frequently the sheriff’s office runs into poor quality surveillance systems during investigations, which do little to advance the case.

“You get what you pay for and you definitely want to invest in equipment where you get the best images,” he said.

Downtown, trees cause problems. When the sheriff’s office has experimented with cameras for special events, trees not only limited the cameras’ coverage areas but interfered with satellite reception.

Claims from opponents that cameras are an invasion of privacy or means of spying carries little weight with the sheriff.

“Video equipment is used everywhere now, privately as well, and it has paid dividends many times over for us,” he said.

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Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 09/20/11 - 09:10 pm
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Its paid dividends huh?

Its paid dividends huh? Where? In Chicago? Where millions have been spent on a 1/2 percent drop in crime? Or in DC, where the crime rate drop is less than that? These cameras cost upwards of $10,000 a piece. How about we cover things we are already obligated to, instead of these pipe dreams. How about ouf Firemen get the support they need, or community policing instead? Lets do this. Lets study Atlantas crime rate a year after the cameras. You government folks like studies, right? This one is on the house. Check the numerous studies that have been done before.

Little Lamb
40087
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Little Lamb 09/20/11 - 11:14 pm
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Bianca Cain wrote: The

Bianca Cain wrote:

The Atlanta City Council recently approved a multi-million dollar video integration center that would compile and analyze footage from as many as 500 cameras [in high-crime areas].

Well, after a network of cameras have been installed, the high-crime areas would move to where there are no cameras, and the cameras would become worthless.

This is a bad idea, folks, because the cost of a taxpayer-funded camera program is very high. The initial capital cost is the tip of the iceberg. You have to construct a "center," likely to be housed in its own building someday. You have to have a 24/7 crew of voyeuristic police officers to sit and stare at the video screens day after day after day after day. You have to hire IT techincians to keep the computers repaired. They will want more and better equipment and the latest upgrade gadget.

This is the money pit from hell.

Little Lamb
40087
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Little Lamb 09/20/11 - 11:09 pm
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Sheriff Strength says he

Sheriff Strength says he would like to place a network of cameras "downtown and in high-crime areas." That means that "downtown" is not a high-crime area, but is just a fun place to watch video on.

Little Lamb
40087
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Little Lamb 09/20/11 - 11:12 pm
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I say, let the free market

I say, let the free market handle this project, not the dysfunctional Augusta city government. They cannot even collect a decent water fee from a golf course.

The Downtown Merchants group can pay for the highest-tech cameras money can buy as long as they do not force taxpayers to fund them. Then they can give the digital files to the police when the police ask for them.

America is not Britain. Let us not make Augusta like London, with all those cameras around.

countyman
16787
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countyman 09/20/11 - 11:37 pm
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I support community policing

I support community policing and the addition of cameras.. Cameras do make criminals think twice before committing crimes.. Downtown(Central Business District) and the inner city(East Augusta, Laney Walker, Harrisburg, and Bethlehem) can use cameras and a substation.. There's a substation in the Harrisburg neighborhood already..

They're planning on installing cameras along Broad street either in 2011 or starting early 2012.. 180-190 cameras from 13th-5th street..

Little Lamb.. The Central Business District and Medical District aren't high crime, but cameras are still needed.. Property crimes including car break ins do happen in the area..

The $3 million traffic signal/streetlight/sidewalk project along Broad street is finishing up. The Broad street camera project would be another positive step in the right direction.. When the news reports on crimes taking place 'downtown'', several people don't realize 90% of the time it happen outside of the Central Business District(i.e East Augusta, Bethlehem, etc).. They believe the entire downtown area has the same crime rate.. The camera and lighting projects will make those people feel safer while visiting downtown..

Vito45
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Vito45 09/21/11 - 12:08 am
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Absolutely Patty. Cockroaches

Absolutely Patty. Cockroaches don't like to be seen. Some, like in Britain will take the chance, but most will scurry back into the darkness.

Vito45
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Vito45 09/21/11 - 12:13 am
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Hmmmm.... I may have to

Hmmmm.... I may have to moderate my position somewhat: http://www.notbored.org/cameras-not-effective.html

cityman
-6
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cityman 09/21/11 - 12:26 am
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Citizens might as well get

Unpublished

Citizens might as well get used to cameras because if you live long enough you will most likely get Alzheimer's or other dementia and you will be observed by nursing home staff. Public cameras can get us in the mood for what is comming. The people who mouth of about privicy are usually poor ....no body is interested in our miserable existance...shut up!

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 09/21/11 - 12:39 am
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How about cameras with audio

How about cameras with audio capabilities in every public school classroom?

corgimom
19183
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corgimom 09/21/11 - 02:13 am
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"Cameras do make criminals

"Cameras do make criminals think twice before committing crimes.."Sure, just ask the criminals in Chicago and Washington DC.

"When the news reports on crimes taking place 'downtown'', several people don't realize 90% of the time it happen outside of the Central Business District(i.e East Augusta, Bethlehem, etc).. They believe the entire downtown area has the same crime rate"

To hear Countyman tell it, we are all a passel of fools who don't know where streets are located in downtown Augusta. When a crime is reported, and an address given, we know EXACTLY where the crime was committed. And no, we don't believe that downtown has exactly the same crime rate. All of us on here have been telling you, Countyman, over and over, that Laney Walker is dreadful, along with Olde Towne, and it is YOU, and only you, that is under the delusion that those areas don't have very high crime. You have said that only "parts" of Laney Walker and East Boundary are sketchy.

You are contradicting yourself, Countyman.

Fortunately, no one takes what you say seriously, Countyman, because we know Augusta far better than you ever will.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 09/21/11 - 04:30 am
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Patty-P, You're right, as

Patty-P,

You're right, as usual.

Riverman1
70351
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Riverman1 09/21/11 - 07:52 am
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Let's take it to what we

Let's take it to what we would do if we had all the money in the world for law enforcement. Would we have cameras and police officers on every corner, every half corner, in front of every building? Would we have road checkpoints on every corner? How about machines that we walk through on sidewalks that scan everyone? How about GPS-computers that track every place our cell phone goes? How about a laser guided weapon aimed at everyone on the street waiting for them to break the law?

Those who say they would welcome such a police state because they have nothing to hide would probably be the first ones to break some silly law and be arrested under what would be a zero tolerance policy using automated detection such as the stoplight cameras.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 09/21/11 - 08:03 am
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Riverman, spot on. People

Riverman, spot on. People think Im a kook when I say that.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 09/21/11 - 08:09 am
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Riverman, I wouldn't take it

Riverman, I wouldn't take it to that extreme....but I do think cameras in high-crime areas would help deter crime and/or help police solve crime. In the future, we probably should expect more of this in larger cities.

Little Lamb
40087
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Little Lamb 09/21/11 - 08:17 am
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You guys are using the word

You guys are using the word "cameras" when you really mean "surveillance program." Once the police get the cameras, they must have officers to watch the video, secretaries to take care of the officers, supervisors to take care of the secretaries. They will need fancy offices with fancy computer servers. They will need those fancy monitors like you see on TV where you move your hands on the screen and the image gets bigger or smaller. They will need special insignia to show that their surveillance & intelligence squad is elite compared to the rest of the force. They will need an army of computer technicians, who in turn will need programmers and supervisors again. They will need a legal department to write the search warrants.

Such a surveillance program will add millions of dollars a year to the operating budget of the sheriff's department. Such a surveillance program will grow like a cancer.

Riverman1
70351
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Riverman1 09/21/11 - 08:38 am
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Taylor, someone has to point

Taylor, someone has to point out the truth. Whether we are kooks or astute obsevers will be determined.

Patty-P, it is seemingly small and harmless, but remember this is a government undertaking. As LL points out so well, the program will only grow.

I actually see it more the invasion of privacy of well known people...in a paparrazi like way. The people monitoring the camera in front of a motel will have a blast playing over and over the video of a well known media personality or politician and who he's checking in with.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 09/21/11 - 08:42 am
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Ya'll read my link. In

Ya'll read my link. In Britain, cameras are NOT a deterrent for violent crime, which is the worry most people have about going downtown, but they do deter property crimes. So, you won't have to worry as much about your hubcaps while you are getting mugged.

Apparently, according to this article, the most effective deterrent to violent crime is LIGHTING. So, I am still half right; the cockroaches scurry when the light is turned on.

Little Lamb
40087
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Little Lamb 09/21/11 - 08:58 am
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City expert Countyman

City expert Countyman posted:

The Central Business District and Medical District aren't high crime, but cameras are still needed.

I'm having a hard time understanding why the first place they want to install cameras to surveil citizens is downtown on Reynolds, Jones, Broad, Ellis and Greene Streets. Why install a surveillance system in a low-crime area?

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 09/21/11 - 09:17 am
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Vito45 - nice little blog

Vito45 - nice little blog that does not provide links or citations you posted there. Let's see, during this past summer's riots in Britain the men involved in the murder of the elderly man were identified via CCTV, the men who robbed the young Asian boy who had been beaten, the men who started the fires at the Sony warehouse and the furniture factory were identified thanks to CCTV. In the USA just this summer the man who abducted and brutally murdered an innocent little boy was captured because of CCTV footage as was the murderer of a young girl in Florida. In Augusta a rapist was caught because a private company's CCTV caught footage of him in his truck in the parking lot where the victim who escaped him said he took her. So much for the ineffectiveness of CCTV for more than just property crimes.

I know that Orwell has frightened all the conspiracy theorists that Big Brother will be putting cameras all over your home, but let's look at this. Human witnesses are unreliable due to a number of factors. CCTV neither falsifies nor recants it's testimony. Had CCTV cameras been trained on a certain street in 1989 the state of GA would not be under the shadow of executing a man who may be innocent today.

seenitB4
72452
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seenitB4 09/21/11 - 09:29 am
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Keep in mind that anyone with

Keep in mind that anyone with a cell phone can keep you on camera 24/7.....so avoiding cameras now is almost impossible...THAT being said having cameras in high crome areas would be ok with me....having cameras pointed at motels/hotels would not be ok ...or cameras in restrooms would not be ok......anyone can sit outside your home & keep you on camera.....I know some kooks in the past (hahah) sometimes it is fun playing with kooks who want to watch your every move....yes I have been attracted to weird people in my lifetime...I think I'm over that now....I hope..:O)

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 09/21/11 - 10:17 am
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Cassandra, did you follow te

Cassandra, did you follow te reference links from that page? No? Didn't think so, else you would have withheld your sarcasm...

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 09/21/11 - 10:28 am
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Do you trust the NY Times? "

Do you trust the NY Times? " A recently published statistical study out of New York University says they do not deter it much, if at all, based on five years of evidence from Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan."

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/study-questions-whether-cam...

The results are definitely mixed, so I stand by my assertion that cameras are not the be -all end-all in crime deterrence I first thought they were, particularly in view of cost/benefit compared to other measures.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 09/21/11 - 10:34 am
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Vito - would you care to

Vito - would you care to comment on the crimes I addressed that were solved/successfully prosecuted because of CCTV? If that were your little boy who was murdered would you be against the cameras? If that were your daughter who was the rape victim? There have been dozens of high profile cases of assault and murder solved due to CCTV surveillance. My only worry is that RC will use this as an excuse to cut back on the police force as London erroneously did when they first installed the cameras. The cameras are completely ineffective if there are not enough officers to interview victims, gather evidence, look through the footage or track down the criminals in the footage.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 09/21/11 - 10:44 am
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Cassandra, my debate is about

Cassandra, my debate is about whether cameras DETER crime enough to be worth the cost/benefit. If you are talking about passive monitoring where tapes are reviewed AFTER a crime has been committed, I can't argue with you about that value. It the active surveillance that is so expensive and doesn't appear to give you as much bang for the buck as simple better lighting does.

It would be nice to catch the thug who cracked open my head,left me for dead, and stole my wallet; but it would be MUCH nicer to have prevented him from doing it to begin with.

CoastalDawg
125
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CoastalDawg 09/21/11 - 10:57 am
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We are rapidly becoming a

We are rapidly becoming a police state; those whom we elect to SERVE us are rapidly become those who want to OBSERVE us by way of camera. Has no one ever considered our constitutional right to confront our "accuser" in a court of law and that would include being able to examine or cross examine? Can a camera do more that provide a video of what MIGHT be happening? I can understand monitoring cameras in private businesses and public buildings but I believe it is totally and completely unconstitutional to be observed every day in every way as we traverse public streets. What ever happened to our freedoms? Are some so willing to give up their own personal freedoms so easily by just putting in place a camera? No, no, and no. If you don't like this idea TELL the sheriff and be certain that he's NOT sheriff after the next election.

CoastalDawg
125
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CoastalDawg 09/21/11 - 11:04 am
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"Had CCTV cameras been

"Had CCTV cameras been trained on a certain street in 1989 the state of GA would not be under the shadow of executing a man who may be innocent today." Might we presume that you have information that over 30 courts/judges did not have over a period of 22 years? The man is NOT innocent. Do you have first hand knowledge of that case, as in being there in that city at the time the crime occurred or observing the case first hand? If you DON'T please do NOT try to change the facts of the case 22 years later; he already has a battery of lawyers who have tried to do that and are still trying at this moment. I welcome your reply to this posting.

countyman
16787
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countyman 09/21/11 - 11:50 am
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Corgimom... You obviously

Corgimom... You obviously don't know Augusta better than I do.. You live all the way in Charlotte and have no idea of what's recent in Augusta.. Besides the first two streets near Eastbound, the Olde Town neighborhood is mostly gentrified.. Several people who can afford to live anywhere in the CSRA reside in Olde Town.. The neighborhood association president(Mr. Keuroglian) lives with his wife and two children in Olde Town. The person(Mr. Presnel) who guided Matt Aitken's campaign for commissioner lives in Olde Town..

I find it funny you think Olde Town is high crime, but ask any member of YPA(Young Professionals of Augusta).. Where do you live or want to? The top choices are the CBD, Olde Town, Midtown, and Summerville.. Alot of local medical students call Olde Town home.. Olde Town is a very nice, growing, and not high crime..

Certain parts of Laney Walker are definitely not high crime either.. Please ride around and notice the new homes, townhomes, parks, roads, business center, etc in the neighborhood.. There's a reason why the city is building more houses than initially planned.

Other than Riverglenn, East Augusta Commons, the actual houses off East Boundary aren't that bad.. Several older people own those homes and don't cause any trouble..

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 09/21/11 - 11:43 am
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CoastalDawg - unless you were

CoastalDawg - unless you were in the courtroom you don't know either. 7, count 'em, 7 of the witnesses have recanted their testimony citing coercion and threats as their reason for lying at the trial. The main witness was suspect himself. 3 jurors have said they would not convict again given the same evidence. There is a lack of physical evidence.

I can't say he is not guilty or guilty. However in light of the lack of physical evidence and the 7 recanted testimonies I will say again:

"Human witnesses are unreliable due to a number of factors. CCTV neither falsifies nor recants it's testimony. Had CCTV cameras been trained on a certain street in 1989 the state of GA would not be under the shadow of executing a man who may be innocent today."

countyman
16787
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countyman 09/21/11 - 11:49 am
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LittleLamb.. The sheriff said

LittleLamb.. The sheriff said he supports cameras downtown and in high crime areas.. The cameras are coming to Broad street from 13th-5th.. I don't know where you getting Reynolds, Jones, Ellis, and Greene.. They may have cameras in the future, but the Broad street project is already in the planning stages..

On another topic, let's hear from a Olde Town resident..

Swider, an art teacher at Harlem High School, talked to another teacher about moving from Evans to Olde Town, where he lived. He invited her to a neighborhood gathering. "And I met the Olde Town crowd," said Swider, who bought her house last July. "It's like a big, extended family."

Swider attended college in Philadelphia and later worked and lived in Manhattan, N.Y., as a fabric designer. She enjoys living in an urban setting, and she doesn't feel unsafe, either. Awareness is the key.

"In an urban environment, people come from other areas and are passing through. You need to be aware of who is supposed to be there," she said. Swider said she's glad she moved to Olde Town

Harrisburg Homeowner
0
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Harrisburg Homeowner 09/21/11 - 12:03 pm
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I just "love" how some of you

I just "love" how some of you say that video surveillance does not deter crime. The cameras may not stop the crime but they sure make it move elsewhere. On the street where I live, gangs, drug dealers and users were openly meeting, dealing, and using drugs. We put up surveillance cameras and notified Narcotics. In fact, we even allowed Narcotics access to our cameras. The dealers and users on the street started up a petition to try to make us take down our cameras. Since we were recording only public areas, they were unsuccessful. The drug use in public stopped completely and the drug dealers no longer openly deal drugs. The gangs left our street and we have not seen them since. We have very little crime here now because we have made it known that we record all public activities and we are not afraid to stand up for ourselves and others who ask for our help. We are not well liked by the criminals, but others who live here appreciate our efforts to make our street a safe environment in which to live, work, and play. Our Internet capable, alarmed surveillance system only cost us a little over $2,000.00---not $10,000.00 or higher. We own our system, so we can configure it in any way we wish (unlike the systems surveillance companies put in and monitor for you).

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