A police department in the Shoals turns to surveillance video to help fight crime, but it’s not just criminals caught on camera.
Florence Police can watch the downtown without ever leaving the office after the department installed video surveillance cameras throughout downtown.
“It`s just the time we`re living in,” said Florence Police Chief, Rick Singleton.
Police hope what’s caught on tape can help crack down on crime.
“We have a lot of special events down there that can help keep people safe. If they see something, the dispatcher can alert the officer on the scene,” said Singleton.
But these cameras are rolling and recording every day, all day long. The cameras are monitored by dispatch and police supervisors.
“It`s always a big brother thing, trying to watch, but the reality of it is probably 80 percent of the places we go today we`re on video,” said Singleton.
While the cameras may be out of sight, on top of street lights and buildings they are watching everything going on down on the ground. Some Florence residents question if law enforcement efforts put some people’s privacy in jeopardy to catch a criminal.
“I just feel like it`s too many cameras in some sense,” said Florence resident, Tracy Anderson. “You feel like there`s cameras everywhere you go anyway and so maybe it`s a waste of our tax money.”
But a Florence business owner, Keith Goins disagrees. “I laugh at that, if you have nothing to hide.”
Goins says he’s already seen the benefits of this added surveillance video.
“I like them, we`ve had some incidents down here. I`ve had a brick thrown through my window, a car broken into in front of my place and some things stolen,” said Goins.
And now with cameras in place, Goins says police can turn to technology to help expose the crime.
The Florence Police Department spent nearly $35,000 to install seven cameras and the software used to monitor the area. Chief Singleton hopes to get more cameras installed throughout the city.