The Downtown Improvement District (DID) purchased the city’s first surveillance camera to be used with the police department’s new wireless surveillance system.
The camera, with has pan, tilt and night-vision functions, cost $13,685 and will be placed in Five Points Park.
“We’re trying to stop the homeless from prowling at night,” said Ernie Ritz, DID vice chairman. “The cameras will deter them. There’s no question.”
The new camera ties into the wireless system the Sarasota Police Department is currently installing for $208,000. Its hope is that the city will eventually acquire more cameras.
The vendor, Let’s Think Wireless, is also providing two temporary cameras, which will be installed at Main Street and Lemon Avenue.
DID Chairman Larry Fineberg said he believes the purchase of the camera will help attract people downtown.
“I think people will feel more comfortable being in the park,” he said. We need to make downtown more inviting.”
In addition, a local surveillance company, Rapid Security Solutions, has just made an agreement with the owners of the Five Points Plaza to place a camera on the outside of their building, facing Five Points Park.
Steven Paley, president of Rapid Security Solutions, said his camera will be programmed to monitor unwanted activity in the park, and once it detects some, it will send a message to designated contacts.
Paley attended the Sept. 22 DID meeting and asked that his company be included in the police department’s system, but Lt. Jeff Karr told him that the department’s vendor has already been selected.
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