City leaders are taking steps to increase security in downtown Augusta and on the Riverwalk. The plan is to put surveillance cameras in the downtown area to prevent crimes, but what's being planned won't come cheap.
After all the crimes that have happened in downtown Augusta over the past several weeks, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office began looking into security cameras for downtown. With all the talk about the NSA looking at phone records, we asked people how they felt about big brother watching them in downtown Augusta.
A crew is measuring the Riverwalk for the possible installation of 11 security cameras there. The crew is also looking at sites in downtown Augusta for 35 more cameras. By installing the cameras, city leaders hope to curb crime in the downtown district, but some people might not like the fact that big brother will be watching them.
"If you don't have anything to worry about, why are you worried about the cameras? If you are not committing any crimes, then you have no problem. The cameras are out there for all our protection," says Frank Davis of Hephzibah, GA.
"If you do something in a public space you're already putting yourself out there to be seen, so I don't know that it's an invasion of privacy," says Brad Mills of Augusta, GA.
The crew tells us that the installation could cost $500,000 to $2 million, depending on the type of cameras being used. City officials haven't voted on the surveillance cameras yet, but the folks we spoke with have already made up their minds.
"It's a lot of money up front. It sound like a big investment, but it probably would help with some of the muggings and crimes that we see going on," says Mills.
"Considering this is a downtown area where females go and the amount of crime that happens, I think it would be safer for girls," says Hannah King of Evans, GA.
Police presence has increased in downtown Augusta over the last several weeks with the sheriff's downtown initiative plan. The sheriff wants to add more officers there, so some people might say spending that much on cameras is a waste.
"Officers would do a better job, but then again, we got 24/7 surveillance here with the cameras and it doesn't cost a lot to do that. I think that would be the cheapest option," says Davis.
"There is not going to be a police officer every time there is a crime around here," says Rashad Carson of Augusta, GA.
City officials say it's too early to talk about the security cameras, but the crew working downtown tells us they should have a design and an estimate in a couple of weeks.
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