More surveillance cameras in Delray Beach

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jun 17, 2016

David Cook has surveillance cameras watching every corner of his downtown Delray Beach store, Hand’s Office and Art Supply.

“They've paid for themselves several times over,” he said.

He explained footage from the cameras helped police track down thieves a handful of times.

Now the police department is launching the same concept on a larger scale. Captain Tom Mitchell is spearheading a plan to install surveillance cameras throughout downtown.

“We’re not going to exempt a crime. Vehicle burglaries, residential burglaries; if it captures it, we're going to investigate it,” Mitchell said.

The police department is also asking business owners to give police 24-7 access to their cameras.

Mitchell said having video or photo evidence of a crime improves conviction rates.

“It’s much better to stand in front of a jury in a court of law and press play and show the crime being committed,” he pointed out.

Opponents said adding downtown surveillance cameras could be an invasion of privacy. But Mitchell argues the cameras will be in public places.

Cook and others support the plan.

“Unless you're planning to do something wrong, it shouldn't bother you a bit,” Cook said.

Mitchell said city hall and the police station already have security cameras outside. He said the city also plans on putting license plate recognition cameras on the barrier island. Those cameras would alert police of stolen cars and other violations.

The police department said it's too soon to say how much this program will cost. It will be in next year's budget.

Mitchell said the earliest cameras could be installed is December.