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INVESTIGATION: Cameras Watching Your Every Move
ENGLEWOOD -- Cameras watching your every move.
It sounds like something you'd see in a movie, but it's actually happening in one local city.
And police are watching and are using the technology to solve crimes.
Dispatchers in the Englewood Police Department's dispatch center are constantly watching live feeds from 45 cameras in public places all over the city.
It is a $2 million investment, all paid for by two grants.
"There's a back up on 70, cars are backing down the ramp," said dispatcher.
On this afternoon, the driver of this car decided he wanted to take a different route.
"What we're able to do is leverage technology to make our jobs more efficient and most importantly more effective," says Sgt. Mike Lang with the Englewood Police Department.
"It's an important public safety tool for us," Sgt. Lang adds. "It's enabling us to put an officer's eyes on the scene faster than anything possible."
"I think it's good for safety but it does make you think that people are watching and there's always someone that can see what's going on," said Lindsay Harlow who lives in Englewood.
But Sgt. Lang says that's exactly why the cameras are so effective in catching the bad guys.
"Stole from Walmart, doesn't think he's being followed, and then he's going to go as far as run across Hoke Road, not realizing his every move is being tracked by a dispatcher."
That dispatcher is telling police everything, even the fact that the bad guy ran into a store in the shopping plaza to try and get away.
Within minutes, police walked in, dragged him out and slapped on the handcuffs.
"Historically, he probably would have gotten away unless somebody called in somebody suspicious," said Sgt. Lang. "Because no one is watching him, now the dispatcher can pass on a few bits of information and we're effortlessly taking him into custody."
"I think they should have more, see what's going on, it doesn't hurt anything," said Thomas Gilleland, an Englewood resident.
We wanted to know if other, larger cities, such as Dayton, have plans use them.
"We are always looking at best practices, and utilizing camera's technology, any technology with best practices," said Assistant Chief Bob Chabali, Dayton Police Department.
The city of Dayton looked into using an unmanned aerial surveillance system that would have cost $120,000.
The money would have come from seized assets.
But after much protest and a heated city council meeting, the city decided to ground those plans.
But nearly a year later, Dayton is still looking for ways to put eyes in the sky.
"It's about public safety, it's about taking care of our citizens, preventing crime from happening," Assistant Chief Chabali said.
"I believe that would be a huge deterrence. People would be scared and they wouldn't want to commit a crime," says Steven Lauben of Dayton.
"Do you feel like it's an invasion of privacy then?" asked the reporter. "It is. To a certain extent it could certainly be used that way, whether it's meant to be it or not," said Adam Brockman, who also lives in Dayton.
But those who are watching say it's an essential tool.
"You go back 10 years before the cameras and we may have a shaky vehicle description they're not sure about it, and it can get right by you if you're distracted. But now with the camera system, we're able to know exactly what that vehicle is, identify occupants, identify a license plate number, with the dispatcher controlling the camera and we're catching bad guys," said Sgt. Lang.
Englewood recently upgraded their cameras to high-definition quality and bought 20 more. It cost them $100,000 to do so.
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