City installs cameras as tool in fight against crime

Published 7:00 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

Criminals beware. The city of Vicksburg has its eyes on you.

The city’s Information Technology Department, with help from the Traffic Department and the Vicksburg Police Department, has installed six new cameras at reported high crime areas in the city, bringing the total number of cameras to 100 scattered across the city and in its parking garages.

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The latest camera installations are part of the first phase of the “#SecureVicksburg” Project.

City IT director Pam Newton said the new cameras are high-resolution cameras capable of picking up activity in great detail. She said about 50 more cameras are expected to be installed in the future.

The new cameras have features including high definition, low light capability, advanced infrared imaging and advanced time stamping.

“We have similar cameras in the parking garage,” she said. “Last week they helped police arrest two people for an auto burglary. We were able to zoom in and get the license plate of the car they used. A few days later, the police stopped that car and made the arrest.”

She said the cameras will be monitored at Vicksburg-Warren 911 and at the Vicksburg Police Department.

“We’re seeing that with the downtown cameras,” she said. “We can listen to the scanner and hear calls to police officers about someone suspicious in the downtown area or ‘they’re speeding downtown.’”

The cameras, however, are not a replacement for community support, Newton said, adding citizens are urged to report any suspicious behavior to the proper authorities.

“The cameras can’t stop a crime, but they can help you determine who the perpetrators of a crime are,” Police Chief Milton Moore stated. “They protect property in the sense that if people see them or think they’re on camera they may not commit a crime.”

“The camera gives the Vicksburg Police Department another tool for fighting crime. The safety and security of the residents of Vicksburg are a priority for my administration,” said Mayor George Flaggs, Jr.

Sgt. Johnnie Edwards, police criminal investigations supervisor, said people who damage the cameras will be arrested and punished under state law. People convicted of destroying a camera can be punished with fines of up to $25,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison.

“If you can see the camera, the camera has already seen you, and the data has already been transmitted to an off-site secure location,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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