Police Propose Policy for Cameras on Mall

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

Charlottesville police want to increase their coverage of the Downtown Mall. But the money they are asking for Monday night would not be used to put more police on the streets. So, they want to keep a digital eye on the city.

Monday night Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo will present a proposal to use surveillance cameras on the Downtown Mall.

Many support the plan, but the policy some are worried about privacy.

Charlottesville City Councilor Julian Taliaferro says, "I've heard both sides of the issue from the community I've heard people are concerned about their rights being violated or their privacy being violated by being on camera."

Now Council must decide if they can balance that concern with the security needs.

"I've heard from people in the community who have said we'd really like to have the cameras because we're concerned about being on the mall," Taliaferro says.

Charlottesville police say the cameras may deter crime and help them crack cases.

Chief Longo says, "The images will be reviewed only if we have reason to believe there is a criminal incident we need to be concerned about."

Chief Longo is proposing the cameras be only in public spaces and that there be signs telling people they're being monitored.

"My hope is that the policy demonstrates certainly our commitment that the constitutional rights of our citizens are protected while at the same time affording us the opportunity to leverage this technology for a legitimate law enforcement purpose," Chief Longo says.

He wants system that could store the images the camera records and eventually be able to monitor them in real time.

The money for the cameras is coming from the capital improvement project fund. That is for improvements on the Downtown Mall. If it is not used for the cameras, it will still go to renovating the mall.

City council meets Monday night at 7.

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