Cameras installed in parts of downtown

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Staff reports

Fourteen video cameras now monitor and record parts of downtown Beaufort 24 hours a day, including the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, to improve safety and security, according to the city of Beaufort.

The cameras provide video feeds to the Beaufort Police Department and are expected to provide evidence in court as well as deter crime, Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop said. 

The Beaufort Police Department demonstrated the system at a Beaufort City Council workshop March 21. 

“Our downtown area is popular with residents and with visitors, and we want to do everything we can to ensure everyone stays safe,” he said. “We believe this video recording system is an important tool to help our police and our community.” 

The $71,500 system features 14 cameras placed from Charles Street to Carteret Street, including the Waterfront Park area. 

City officials bought the system using accommodations tax funds and general fund money. 

The cameras and other equipment are installed and operational. 

Adding the surveillance system is yet another component of the community policing concept used by Beaufort, Police Chief Matt Clancy said. 

“With community policing, we multiply our patrol force by utilizing people sharing their concerns with us about suspicious activity and establishing good relationships across Beaufort,” he said. 

“We use social media to seek public help in identifying suspects. Now we have video recording to help us monitor key locations, and that will be a big help. 

“At the end of the day, our goal is to provide the highest level of public safety possible,” Clancy said. “This video system will greatly expand our ability to provide that service.” 

Beaufort’s move to video recording mirrors that of Bluffton, where the town bought and installed a 22-camera system in 2015 to boost public safety. 

“This is an important investment in community safety and will be a strong tool for our police and the courts if needed,” Clancy said.