Nearly 100 surveillance cameras in B’ham could soon keep a watchful eye on crime

B'ham looking in surveillance camera system

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The city of Birmingham is thinking about how to keep a much closer eye on you in hopes of cutting down on violent crime by putting up nearly 100 surveillance cameras around the city.

The city’s Public Safety Committee recently approved a pilot program that will put cameras in four high crime areas of the city. We’re told over 50 of those cameras will have license plate recognition technology. The metro area crime center will monitor the cameras.

"Obviously we have some quality of life issues that deal with gun fire and violent crime in the city of Birmingham and this is one more tool that we’ll be able use that our police department will be able to use to help them in their constant daily fight to help make Birmingham a more livable city,” said District 2 city councilman Hunter Williams, who also chairs the public safety committee.

The cameras are a part of the Alabama Power Smart Cities initiative. The city says Alabama Power will maintain the cameras that will cost the city over $650,000 a year to operate.

Williams says the cameras will go up in public spaces to keep a watchful eye on crime.

We spoke with residents about these possible new eyes in the sky.

“I believe if people are doing stuff wrong, that it will be able to catch it a lot more easier,” said Kimberly Peters, a resident said.

”I do understand that confidentiality is important, and it is key - but, at the same time, so it safety. You have children out and all these killings and shootings. It will be a good way to document whatever is happening to put a pinpoint on who’s doing it,” another resident said.

We’re told the cameras should be able to work hand in hand with the city’s ShotSpotter system which detects gunfire. City council could sign off on the plan in about a week. The system could be online in the next 90 days.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.