STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Expanding security is behind an ongoing project in Starkville, that has city government, the police, and local businesses joining forces.
It’s being called the Municipal Camera Project.
The department and city are building on an existing surveillance camera system. The security cameras were previously a police department project that was grant funded.
Now, the city is helping the department expand that.
The Board of Aldermen approved the new project and Phase I is already underway.
You’ve probably seen them around Starkville.
You can spot them by their red and blue flashing lights and soon, more security cameras will be monitoring the city.
“We’re leasing them and we are going to start with ten and then hopefully, depending on the costs and things, we’re going to rack up to more. This is not something, the board of alderman aren’t sitting there going, ‘Well, I want one here and I want one there.’ This is based on interaction between the police and the I.T. department and where it makes sense for us,” said Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill.
The places that make the most sense are the ones that attract the most people.
“They’re not going to be constantly monitored in the sense of not always having someone sitting there and looking at them, but they’re going to be available to us. We’re going to have someone that they will live feed to it if it’s necessary and we’re going to be concentrating in the areas that we have a lot of activity. We have a lot of events and we want to keep having events and we want everybody to feel safe and comfortable.”
Cameras are already watching areas like downtown, entertainment districts, and the main university corridor.
More are coming to the Cotton District, the Sportsplex, and a few other areas.
Police are hoping that the extra eyes will make potential criminals think twice.
“One of the big things about that is, we hope it will deter crime if you see them in these areas. Another thing that these cameras have helped us with in the past, have been post incident. It’s helped us resolve both misdemeanor and felony cases,” said Starkville Police Department Public Information Officer, Corporal Brandon Lovelady.
While the cameras are always watching, not just anybody can watch them.
“Shift C.S.I. being one of them. So, they can go say at 3 o’clock in the morning an incident happens, a hit-and-run, anything you could name, period. From the most basic thing, to the most serious thing, and they can go pull up and review the cameras and see what extra evidence that can be provided, whether it be something as simple as a clothing or vehicle description, or much more information.”
Lovelady and Mayor Spruill say there are more plans in the future for the security system.
Over time, the goal is to also cover busy intersections.
There’s a map on the city’s website showing where the cameras are and as they’re added the map will be updated.