Surveillance cameras to play bigger role in policing - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Surveillance cameras to play bigger role in policing

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Chief of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police believes surveillance cameras will become a crucial part of law enforcement in the future.

"No question" says Chief Rodney Monroe. "I think the ability for law enforcement to not only deploy their cameras but also partner with the private sector."

Police departments across the country know that when there are large scale events and hundreds of officers are deployed, some things can still go wrong.

During the Boston Marathon, there were officers working along the route, and police even swept the area for explosives. Still, there were two blasts.

Investigators are hoping the culprit was caught on video. 

Chief Monroe believes surveillance video will help catch the suspects wanted in Boston, where investigators are reviewing video frame by frame.

"We have that capability - most of our activities are centered in Uptown area and with that we have  layers of cameras in Uptown area that gives us the ability to monitor not only while event is occurring but also allows us to go back after events to determine whether or not there are some factors that led to the particular incident" Chief Monroe says.

In Charlotte, CMPD currently have more than 600 surveillance cameras around the community, and a crime center where officers can watch over an area before and after an incident.

Local residents are divided about the increasing role of surveillance cameras.

"I think it's dangerous territory because it can get into privacy. It might not always be used for purpose it's used for" one man told WBTV. "I know a lot of Europe uses it just for the crime scenes. But I think it touches dangerous territory."

A woman who was walking in Uptown said "absolutely necessary. I think it's awesome." She said "we're all scared. We scared to walk to our cars at the end of the day. We don't know what's in the trash can, who's got a gun in their car? Surveillance is absolutely necessary."

But another Charlotte area resident is leery. "Add a camera here, add a camera there" he said. "When the Democratic National Convention came, they added thousands of cameras. Oh we'll take most of them down. I think they left most of them up so. It just shows how disingenuous."

Another woman in Charlotte wants more cameras. "I think they should have more clearance of them" she said. "More of them, and lower to the ground so police can see if someone goes behind a door or behind bushes."

The Chief says "as resources become tighter and tighter whereby there's not enough funds to hire additional officers - I think not only here in Charlotte - there is a need for additional officers but that electronic surveillance gives you additional eyes."

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