GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — When it comes to fighting crime, the Greenville Police Department is using more than just manpower.
Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman said there are roughly 200 public safety cameras throughout the city.
“A lot of those cameras are inside the new parking deck, or even inside some of our park facilities, and gymnasiums and things like that,” said Holtzman.
Holtzman said GPD relies heavily on the cameras.
“This system is not used on a daily basis this system is used continuously,” he said.
They have been used to solve numerous cases including the recent First Citizens Bank robbery.
“To get to and from the bank, from the bank robbers perspective, you’re typically going to be traveling by vehicle and on a major roadway,” said Holtzman. “So that’s one of your main goals in having a cameras system is being able to go back and look at that information.”
Many residents of the city expressed similar thoughts toward the city’s camera system.
“I’m definitely on the fence about it,” said Keldren Pitt of Greenville. “I can see where it does help crime if anything happens you have a clear eye on what happened, but if you just want to take a stroll down the street, you don’t really want to feel like you’re being watched.”
Rachel Dixon also lives in Greenville and said, “If the cameras are being used to effectively handle and solve a crime that’s one thing. If they’re used as abuse to the police advantage it’s not an advantage for the citizens.”
Holtzman said if tele-communicators are watching, there’s a reason.
“They will watch for any behavior that’s out of the ordinary,” said Holtzman. “If all of a sudden they start to see people run in one direction or something odd take place they can quickly direct officers to that area.”
Those working in the call center say they see first-hand how the cameras can pay off for the department.
Mark Jesmer is a lead tele-communicator and said, “Since I’ve been here, I’ve been here 22 years, the best thing they ever did was these cameras. It helps out a whole lot and to me it’s reduced crime quite a bit.”
Holtzman said he hopes to expand the system into more residential areas.
He said if criminals know the cameras are in place they will be less likely to commit the crime.