More eyes on Old Town Bluffton: 22 surveillance cameras unveiled

Cameras are stationed around Old Town, to provide 22 more sets of eyes for officers.

If you’re in Old Town Bluffton, you may be watched. The plan is to stop crime from happening, and be able to access evidence to crimes that do occur in Old Town Bluffton, by keeping surveillance cameras recording from above. Police unveiled 22 surveillance cameras on Tuesday, at the new May River Road substation in Old Town. Officers say nearly all of the historic district is covered, and some footage even overlaps.

Police say the cameras give them 22 more sets of eyes on what goes on. Some residents are pleased to hear they’re being monitored.

“If there is police presence, if there is general knowledge that cameras are on the premises, then it might give folks a second thought before they have bad behavior,” says Old Town neighbor and business owner Jacob Preston.

Preston says raucous nightlife behavior spills over into the Old Town neighborhoods, but this camera presence may cut-down on the mischief. He recalls several nuisance incidents, one in which a driver who police believe was coming from a bar, wrecked the vehicle into a public park.

“Somebody left a bar, and drove his vehicle right into the bathroom at the park…the other night, there were fights…” Preston lists.

Some of the officers will have access to the live cameras, to monitor the area.

“Supervisors will have access to monitor the cameras by what they need, for any crime or for any evidence they might need for them,” Sgt. James Carmany says.

But will the cameras serve as an aid to community policing, on-foot officer presence–or will they be a substitute, so officers can get to areas with higher crime rates?

“It’s both,” Carmany says. “I mean, just by going around and seeing the cameras itself it’s an actual deterrent, and it’s, just if you in general want to come down here, you’re going to feel safer knowing there’s cameras there so if something does happen, most likely we can pull some evidence and solve the crime.”

With the ribbon cutting of the new substation, officers will continue to patrol afoot in the historic district, too.

When it comes to storing the massive amount of footage that will build-up from all the cameras recording 24-hours each day, Carmany says the department will keep footage for 10 days, then dispose of it.

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