The City of Florence has now put the final touches on a downtown surveillance camera system that allows law enforcement to have virtual eyes on city streets at all times.
The city started working on the program back in 2011, after receiving a grant from the US Dept. of Justice.
That grant provided more than $42,000 for the surveillance cameras, which were then mounted in high-traffic, "key" areas in the downtown.
The cameras are monitored by police officers at their headquarters and provide a real-time look at what's taking place downtown.
Over the past month, the city has also put up signage across the downtown area, alerting people to the fact that they are being monitored on closed-circuit television.
For many business owners and residents, that means hopefully not only a deterrent for criminals, but also a positive sign of the increasing level of safety in the downtown area.
That includes Florence resident Martha Collier, who says she's seen a variety of changes since moving back to the Florence area in the 1970's.
"I think we've seen two major tear-downs and build-ups in those times and I'm real hopeful for the future for downtown Florence," Collier said.
"It will make it more safe for us senior citizens like I am, and it just gives you confidence to come and be a part of downtown," she continued.
Downtown business owner David Frazier has cameras right outside of his store on W. Evans St. and said he feels like his family, and his business, are a lot safer because of that fact.
"It relieves a little bit of my apprehension about being down here, my wife being here alone most of the time, but really I think it's gonna be good for her, for her safety, and it makes me feel a little bit more at ease," Frazier said.
"I think it's gonna deter crime and I think it's gonna be good for the downtown area, it's gonna really be coming back to its old originality," he continued.
Florence City officials hope to potentially expand the camera network beyond the 12 cameras that are currently in operation.
That would take place as additional city funds become available.
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