The Columbia Police Department and Statewide Security Systems began monitoring in real time security cameras throughout the city's social districts on Friday, police department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said.
Over 50 cameras will be monitored live by police and Statewide Security Systems during various times of the day and night, Timmons said.
"The cameras are part of the city-wide security program focusing on crime reduction and prevention," Timmons said. "The effort enhances CPD's ability to view crime before it happens."
Interim Chief Ruben Santiago said they already know the camera systems help in solving crime.
"Now officers will be able to monitor suspicious activity, gather investigative information on suspects, and corroborate or disprove information or someone's alibi in real time," Santiago said. "We want to stop crime as much as we can before it happens and catch a suspect more quickly."
If a crime is committed during the real-time monitoring, officers can disseminate the information to patrol units throughout the city, Timmons said. Statewide Security staff members can also notify central dispatch.
"We want citizens to be safe and have a good time while in Columbia," said Carey Shealy with Statewide Security Systems. "The cameras are designed to be a crime deterrent and a crime-fighting tool for police."
Timmons said this is not the first live-monitoring effort in Columbia.
Cameras have been viewed by law enforcement during special events like New Years Eve celebrations.
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