After weeks of heated debate, the voters of Columbia, Mo. last week approved Proposition 1, a measure that authorizes the placement of four video surveillance cameras in the city’s downtown area. The vote was 59 percent in favor of the cameras that will allow police to monitor the streets and sidewalks.
The mother of a young man who was attacked and beaten by seven people last year spearheaded the effort. She formed a pro-camera group, Keep Columbia Safe.
One problem with the proposition – there was no funding identified nor was there a deadline for operation of the cameras. Opponents of the measure still hope to defeat it when the funding debate comes to the city council.
Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security Services, said he hopes the council will have the foresight to carry out the wishes of the electorate and locate the estimated $50,000 it will take to get the cameras purchased and installed.
“Cameras are an invaluable anti-crime tool and can often be more cost-effective than additional police officers,” he said. “Cameras don’t take days off and work around the clock. And they also fit well with the concept of community policing.”
Fiel also strongly recommended the city budget for maintenance and service of the cameras to make sure they continue to operate as planned.
– PSW staff