Surveillance Cameras Ready to Go Live

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COLUMBIA - Eight surveillance cameras completed testing Thursday in their new downtown Columbia locations, meaning they are ready to go live Friday. The cameras were installed at four locations by Columbia-based ISG Technology, Inc.

The four locations are Hitt Street and Broadway, Tenth Street and Broadway, Tenth Street and Cherry Street, and NInth Street and Cherry Street. Columbia Police identifed those locations as "hot spots" after analysis of crime data from April 2009 through March 2010.

Karen Taylor, founder of the "Keep Columbia Safe" group that advocated for the cameras, started that drive after her son was assaulted in a downtown parking garage that had its own cameras. Columbia voters approved the measure in April 2010.

"What we were really looking for was another tool to aid law enforcement. We know that our police can't be everywhere all the time, so this is just another tool to assist them," Taylor said. "We think that it will send message to our community that we won't tolerate crime, and that if something were to happen, we would be able to use the video as avoidance."

The Columbia City Council appropriated $75,000 for the cameras. A five-year, $21,000 agreement was awarded to ISG Technology to maintain the cameras.