By Bryan Navarro
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Police have a new set of eyes in the sky, trained on the streets of one Southern Oregon town. Grants pas police are hoping that the camera has a dual purpose: catch criminals on camera, and prevent them from acting in the first place.
The box is big, there’s signs warning of video surveillance, and a blinking light on top. Police are using the video as potential evidence, but also as a crime deterrent. The corner of 6th and G Street in downtown Grants Pass is an area police call a crime hot spot. In 2007, there was a brutal homicide nearby. More recently, police have investigated drug trafficking, vandalism, and problems with transients there.
The box holds four cameras and can pan, tilt, and zoom into specific areas. The video is sent wirelessly and can be monitored live from a desktop computer, and recorded to be reviewed later. Grants pass police call it a great tool.
The camera cost $6,500; they did not spend any tax money and instead paid for it with money seized in drug cases. Right now, police can monitor the cameras live and access recorded video; within the next year, they hope to be able to see and control cameras, from inside their patrol cars.