WPD asking for access to downtown Wilmington businesses’ security cameras to fight crime

WPD asking for access to downtown Wilmington businesses to fight crime
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 11:01 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Following an October shooting, Wilmington Downtown Inc. is collaborating with the Wilmington Police Department in hopes of providing security camera access through local businesses.

This was the topic of discussion at a recent meeting between the WPD and Wilmington Downtown Inc., where the organizations invited downtown business owners for a question and answer session.

Police said allowing access to security cameras is completely optional, and owners can choose which camera they allow access to. However, the WPD wouldn’t need permission from the business to access footage at any time.

The main goal is to find a suspect as quickly as possible, so if an incident happens in the middle of the night, police don’t have to wait until morning to access security footage.

John Hirchak, co-owner of The Black Cat Shoppe, isn’t convinced this is necessary.

“I think I’d almost rather provide it in a timely manner. Like, I can provide it pretty quickly,” he said. “That’s uncomfortable for my staff, for my customers for sure.”

Lt. Greg Willett, with the WPD, says infringing on personal privacy is not the intention.

“We don’t have the staffing or personnel to be like a monitoring service, like an alarm company. That’s not the intent at all. This is primarily geared to an investigative type view or type standpoint,” Lt. Willett explained.

While many business owners agree with Hirchak, others are open to police accessing their cameras.

Police already have access to around 10 cameras across Wilmington, but none downtown. Police say if a business owner wants to let police have access to their cameras, they can contact the WPD for more information.