City bumps up surveillance camera program

More surveillance cameras to catch criminals and prevent crime will be going up around Williams Lake starting this year.

  • Feb. 24, 2016 11:00 a.m.

More surveillance cameras to catch criminals and prevent crime will be going up around Williams Lake starting this year.

Tuesday, Williams Lake city council committed to a new project with the Williams Lake Central Business Improvement Association (BIA) to purchase 32 high-resolution surveillance cameras for the city over the next few years.

Finance chair Coun. Scott Nelson said the total project will cost about $150,000 rolled out in contributions from the city of $25,000 per year starting this year and each year thereafter until all 32 cameras are in place.

Council gave early 2016 budget approval to contribute $10,000 toward the cost of upgrading the BIA’s security camera computer system and $15,000 toward the purchase of additional high resolution surveillance cameras.

“It is a significant amount of money but we believe the cameras will be a significant tool for the RCMP to help reduce crime in the city and catch criminals,” Nelson says.

If the purchase price on the cameras holds, Jan Hermiston, the BIA’s surveillance camera committee chair, said they hope to have four new cameras in place by the end of the year. The BIA currently has four cameras in the downtown core.

“From what we have been hearing on the street the plan is being well received,” Hermiston said. “People want a safer city and we are thrilled that city council is backing this program.”

Nelson explained that the city also has a number of surveillance cameras in place to monitor city-owned properties. Over the long term, he said the partnership with the BIA will see surveillance cameras operating in key areas all over the city.

The new cameras being purchased are operated remotely so there are no electrical wires for criminals to cut, Nelson says. The cameras are also made of high impact material that is difficult to damage and they will produce high resolution images.

“We will be able to see the whites of the criminal’s eyes,” Nelson added. “We are pushing full steam ahead with this project.”

Nelson says the program also includes signage to advise the public where they may be under surveillance.