Downtown Surveillance Cameras Coming Next Year
The Guelph Police Service aims to enhance public safety in the downtown area by potentially installing 14 surveillance cameras in 2024. While funding details are yet to be finalized, the police are actively exploring the procurement, installation, and operation of these cameras, primarily focusing on the downtown core.
Deputy Chief Daryl Goetz stated that the main goal is to create a sense of safety in the downtown area, and they might consider expanding camera placement to other areas if needed. By strategically monitoring certain locations prone to safety issues, the cameras would provide valuable information to guide officers quickly and efficiently to incidents, improving response times.
The proposed 14 cameras would be strategically positioned around the downtown area, and appropriate signage would inform the public that the area is under surveillance. While not monitored 24/7, the footage would be reviewed as needed, such as after incidents occur.
These surveillance cameras would offer distinct advantages over existing traffic cameras, which focus solely on monitoring traffic volume and lack the ability to zoom in to capture specific details like license plates or incidents.
The total cost for the first year of implementation is estimated at approximately $495,000, with $295,000 allocated from the proposed police capital budget for 2024. To secure the remaining $200,000, the police have applied for a grant through the provincial Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Grant Program, which was introduced in the previous year to help police services across the province enhance their surveillance systems and combat gun and gang violence.
Ongoing operating expenses for each year are expected to be around $140,000, as the police would need to pay a licensing fee for software to stream the camera footage back to headquarters.
Before finalizing the exact locations for the cameras, the city is engaging in community consultation to gather feedback. While the downtown area is the primary focus, other potential locations will also be considered to maximize safety benefits. The police have already consulted with the business association, which has expressed strong interest in the initiative.
Although there is no specific timeline for receiving the grant, the police have been diligently working on this project since last November and will be prepared to proceed once the funding is secured. More details about the project will be made available in the fall when the 2024-2027 budget is finalized.