Downtown Wilmington surveillance cams operational

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - People walking around Downtown Wilmington should know the Wilmington Police Department has a new video system that is recording everything that goes on around local watering holes.

The system passed its final inspection this week, so police can now keep an eye on rowdy crowds and fights that mixed with alcohol create problems along the water front.

"There's not enough man power out here when all the crazies are still out at 3:00 in the morning," said bartender Kelly Coats.

The 12 cameras mounted on corners along Front and Market Streets will give police fresh eyes in the fight against crime. It's a technology some people are thrilled about.

"It makes me feel safer to be downtown," said Nadil Saleh. "I think girls are going to love it, knowing that they won't get harassed."

Each camera feeds video back to Wilmington Police Headquarters where a screen in the lobby displays the images. Police will not monitor the cameras every second, but they can pan and zoom into what they want to see. The video will be recorded, so detectives can go back and review it to help solve crime.

"We're coming into the 21st century will this tool that's going to help us downtown," said WPD Captian Marshall Williamson.

However, some people are not so sure about the new police capability.

"As soon as I step out of the shower and come out of my house, there's a camera focused on me? I don't think that's right," said downtown resident Nate Marceil.

Others say they're willing to be on camera if it improves the crime rate.

"It feels like your privacy is being violated, I mean, you know you don't want everybody watching your every move," said downtown promoter Mike "Major League" Bridges. "You feel like that big brother thing is getting a little too comfortable, but at the end of the day, it's for the betterment of downtown."

"I'm kind of against big government watching people, but I'd say downtown in certain areas, it's probably fine," said Micah Smith, downtown customer.

Both police and downtown customers say they hope the cameras will make people more responsible. If not, criminals can expect to see their crimes play out in a courtroom near you.

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