The Racine Police Department is installing up to 60 video cameras to monitor streets throughout the city, Police Chief Kurt Wahlen and Mayor Gary Becker said Tuesday.
The cameras will be installed throughout the inner city - they need to be within two miles of a wireless antenna, which likely would be installed on top of City Hall - and monitored from a computer at the police department. The video streams also will be recorded, and the live feeds will be accessible to officers in their squad cars.
Wahlen said the cameras will give police lots more "looksies" into what's going on. For example, if a shift commander sees a group of kids gathering at a corner, they can send officers to the area before violence breaks out.
The first cameras will be installed near 12th Street and Grand Avenue. Once those are working, the surveillance program will be expanded to Geneva and Hamilton streets. Both areas are considered high-crime neighborhoods.
"I realize it creates some Big Brother issues, but I think most of the people in the neighborhoods where the cameras are going are going to be very happy to have them," Wahlen said.
Becker said the city was working with SC Johnson to install cameras around the campus. They're also planning to install cameras in Downtown Racine and near the Shoop parking ramp.
The police chief and mayor announced the video camera strategy, targeted at the inner city, during a meeting with The Journal Times on Tuesday. Here's a video of the meeting.
The Journal Times did not mention the city's surveillance plans in its story on the meeting.