The Pittsburg City Council approved a plan Monday to update and expand its already vast system of police cameras around the community.
The man who oversees the police department’s grant programs told the council members why the city needs three more automated license plate reader cameras added to its 9-year-old system.
“Our purpose: enhancing community safety with vigilant camera expansion,” said Lieutenant William Hatcher of the Pittsburg Police Department. “As the city grows, so too does our camera system. So, as you think about it, as commercial areas go in or residential areas go in, we increase that public safety camera system to keep in pace with the growth of the city.”
The first cameras went in back in 2014 in Pittsburg and the city currently has 175 cameras strategically placed around the community — 178 after the new cameras go in.
A valuable tool in the city’s crime reduction strategy according to Hatcher who says it’s paid off so far.
“We can use that data to back-track and create leads. It’s no different than a witness or a cell phone video,” he said, adding it’s helped local police solve everything from car break-ins to a murder.
There were no complaints. In fact, nothing but praise from a downtown restaurant owner.
“We just had a couple of robberies up the street,” said Johny Khalilieh, owner of La Veranda Ristorante Italiano.
He said the more eyes to fight crime the better, as far as he’s concerned.
“I think cameras would provide more security,” said Khalilieh. “Maybe if somebody knows there’s a camera and somebody is watching they won’t do that.”
He sometimes worries crime in the area drives away customers who are afraid to come downtown and over time, more cameras might also mean more business.
“So maybe we can prevent some crimes and some thefts in this downtown,” said Khalilieh.
The council also approved using nearly $300,000 to update software and servers for the public safety camera system.