Related Story

COLUMBIA – Downtown Columbia’s parking structures will be getting new security cameras. A member of the Columbia Parking Advisory Commission said, for many reasons, the city wants to move toward more centralized surveillance with newer technology.

“One of the main reasons for doing this is that we’re changing the system for paying for parking," Greg Cecil said. "So, it’s important to have a camera that’s focused on the person using the parking device and so, if there’s a problem, somebody can be on the line and be able to help them out if they need to do that.” 

This means the entrances and exits of all parking structures will have more surveillance.

The project is estimated to cost around $250,000 and installation will begin in the late spring or early summer of 2019.

Cecil said there aren’t many problems in parking garages, but public safety will always be a main concern. Some people who park in the structures regularly said there is definitely room for improvement.

“There needs to be more people reviewing camera footage,” Steven Davis said. “I’ve had about four buddies that have had their cars broken into or stolen and nobody did anything about that.”

Melissa Vanderplog said she doesn’t always feel at ease while inside of the parking garages.

“It’s scary, especially when I’m alone,” she said.

A valet at Tiger Hotel said sometimes, when he parks cars, he will see people who have “no business being there” or find homeless people in the stairwells.

Elizabeth Worsham, who works at Main Squeeze downtown, said she would like more reassurance. 

“I often leave work at, like, 9:30, so it would be really great to know that security was taken care of in the garage, cause I do feel a little bit nervous walking home," she said. 

Cecil said he hopes people will share their opinions at a hearing hosted by the Public Works Department on March 26 at City Hall.