Jan 28, 2014 12:45 AM by Maddie Garrett

Police Say Downtown Cameras are Catching Criminals

Surveillance cameras have been keeping a watchful eye on downtown Colorado Springs for almost two years now. And while some might call it "big brother," Colorado Springs Police said the surveillance system is working in catching criminals.

"Each camera has a sign under it that notifies the public that the cameras are in use. It's still amazing the things that people do downtown and think that they're anonymous and undetected," said Commander Pat Rigdon, Colorado Springs Police.

But they aren't undetected, volunteers put in more than 1,000 hours last year assisting police officers in the downtown area. And they're on track to put in the same amount this year.

Volunteers are watching about 10 surveillance cameras to see what's happening on the streets, and then they let officers know what's going on, and where to go.

"We've made well over a dozen felony narcotics arrests attributed to the cameras," said Commander Rigdon.

For the most part, people we talked to in downtown like the cameras.

"I think the surveillance cameras are a good idea, it'll help us keep track of people who are intoxicated, or who are also potentially doing drug deals, or if anybody were to get hit in the intersections it'll actually help out," said Kyle Allee.

But they don't catch everything. Bobbie Peterson manages Cj's Unique Boutique in downtown. She said the cameras didn't catch a mugging down the street from her shop a few months ago, and that wasn't the only incident.

"Somebody broke our front window a few weeks ago, like right after the New Year, half of it was all busted out and there was no cameras that caught that either," said Peterson.

Still, she supports the cameras, even if they haven't helped in her case.

"I'm sure that there's too much down here for the cops to catch everything of course," she explained.

While there is only so much police can catch, they try focus on high risk areas in hopes of making downtown a little safer.

"It's really been a success in my mind so far, the volunteers though have really been a big part of that," said Commander Rigdon.

The City of Colorado Springs initially spent $183,000 on the cameras in 2012. The Downtown Development Authority paid for the first three years of maintenance.



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