EAST LANSING, Mich. — East Lansing's Downtown Development Authority is installing six new surveillance cameras in the downtown area in response to a recent uptick in crime.
“The city's parking system and our park structures have had cameras for a number of years to sort of enhance security,” said City Manager George Lahanas.
East Lansing's parking downtown department has 77 cameras. 74 of which run on the same operating system and three that run on a different one. Now the Downtown Development Authority is adding six new cameras bringing that number to 83.
“It'll be in areas where there's the highest traffic and concentration of people. Where people are gathering walking, where we're putting our place making furniture along Albert Avenue,” Lahanas.
Lahanas said the addition of more cameras will provide another element of safety to the area and oversee the placemaking art structures and outdoor seating areas near the Division Street Garage that were put in this past year.
“We have had a little bit of an uptick of crime in the late night hours in the downtown, because there's been a lot of activity," Lahanas said. "So because of that, we thought cameras were a good sort of preventative measure to provide an element of safety. Also, if there were any crimes committed, of course, the police could be able to follow up and respond to that.”
Lahanas said the cameras won't be monitored unless there's a reason to look at the footage.
“If something were to occur, you can go back and look at that specific area, date and time and then look at it," Lahanas said. "If there was something that was concerning or committed, they actually download it and then have the footage.”
The footage will be saved to a cloud storage service and wiped out every 30 days unless it needs to be downloaded.
“It's not preserved into the future, unless there's something that was concerning that happened," Lahanas said. "And it could be saved at that point.”
The DDA will pay for the installation of the cameras and approved spending up to $40,000 of public money.
The cameras will be added to the already existing parking system cameras and signs will be posted.
“I think you want people to have some sense that they're on video so that if there's a preventative measure from it, that they're aware of the darn video currently and I think that has a good deterrent effect as well," Lahanas said.
No audio will be recorded by the cameras. Lahanas said they will just be used to monitor people's presence and safety downtown.
“We think that in terms of the balance of safety in the balance and be able to respond if something actually occurs, I think is a benefit to our residents providing a safe environment,” Lahanas said.
One of the six has already been installed as part of the placemaking project. Lahanas said the rest are expected to be up as soon as possible.
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