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Chatham-Kent police calling for more security cameras in core areas

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Chatham-Kent Police Service is recommending 35 additional closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in several downtown areas at Chatham-Kent council Monday evening.

Council is being asked to approve the expansion of the CCTV “Birds Eye View” Project at core locations in downtown Chatham, Wallaceburg, Blenheim, Ridgetown and Tilbury, at a cost of $772,920, in an effort to prevent crime and further enhance security in downtown Chatham-Kent.

A CCTV pilot project was initially approved by council in 2020 to improve community safety, crime prevention, and attract visitors and tourism to boost the local economy. Four CCTV cameras were installed in six areas of downtown Chatham that were identified.

A report by Chatham-Kent Police Chief Gary Conn indicates the key benefit of CCTV is to quickly source identifiable information and aid in investigations, noting CCTV has brought value for CKPS in various events in the pat such as bank robberies, weapons calls, arson investigations and motor vehicle collisions.

In the report Conn said, “The Community Safety CCTV system will allow CKPS to gather evidence, observe and analyze activity in specific areas downtown to deal with quality-of-life and complex social problems such as public intoxication, vandalism, drug trafficking, mischief to property, metal health and homelessness, in addition to the more serious crimes of assault, robbery and homicides.”

“It is expected that unlawful activities in the monitored areas will be reduced and that there will be an increased perception of safety. Clearance and apprehension rates are expected to increase for crimes committed in these areas. Over time, these impacts will enhance the value of the downtown areas across every community.”

Conn said if approved, the funding would come from the municipality’s Strategic Reserve and will be addressed as part of council’s 2025 annual budget update, including possible offsetting grant opportunities.

The cameras would also all have built in AI and proactive capabilities, and range from a bullet style observation camera that would alert on-duty officers of possible criminal activities and suspicious behaviour, allowing them to respond proactively.

Conn added in his report that CKPS has secured some funding to date and may receive further funding as the project develops, however there is no confirmation when, or if, additional funds may be available.

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