Southern Illinois City Installs First Security Cameras in Downtown Corridor

The initial installation includes 12 high-definition, 360° surveillance cameras with more to come.

CARBONDALE, Ill. – For the first time, security cameras have been installed in this city’s downtown area in an effort to deter crime and enhance perceptions of public safety.

Although security cameras have previously been installed in city-owned buildings, the 12 high-definition, 360° cameras along a downtown area known as The Strip are the first surveillance devices in public spaces in Carbondale, according to the Southern Illinoisan.

The cameras were installed along Illinois Avenue between College Street and Cherry Street as part of an ongoing downtown revitalization effort.

“What we really think is an important part of an overall revitalization strategy is that we need for folks to feel safe in downtown Carbondale,” said Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams.

Subsequent phases of the public safety project call for additional security cameras to be installed farther north along Illinois Avenue.

“Illinois Avenue is one of the busier areas of the city in terms of foot traffic, and certainly there’s high density on the sidewalks and public spaces late-night, due to bars and all the [Southern Illinois University] traffic and because there’s a lot of entertainment venues downtown. We felt like that was a logical first place to start,” Williams said.

Sally Carter, proprietor of Hangar 9, a craft beer and live music venue on Illinois Avenue, told the Southern Illinoisan she was also in favor of the new surveillance cameras.


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“I’m glad to see it, because the police are always looking at my security footage, and it will give them bigger and wider picture of what’s going on down there – often what I can provide is not enough. I applaud them for putting them in,” Carter said.

Williams said he had received some questions about whether the intent was to monitor people’s activity.

“There have been some comments that have come up about ‘Big Brother,’ and certainly we could do that, but we frankly don’t have the resources to just have officers sit at desks monitoring the cameras all the time,” Williams said. “… It’s an added security element downtown, and it’s also a tool that we can help our law enforcement people solve crimes with when they do happen,” he said.

The cameras are encased in weatherproof enclosures and will not require much maintenance, Williams said. They have pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) capability, which can be used live or after the fact to zoom in for close-ups.

“In many ways, we’re kind of behind the curve on this,” Williams said. “This is our first step, but I think our long-term goal is to be ahead of the curve and to use technological tools to provide more service or better service to the community, but also to provide more technological resources to our law enforcement people.”

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