Downtown Albany surveillance cameras may have limitations

Downtown Albany surveillance cameras may have limitations

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Even city leaders admit the system has serious limitations.

A man was wounded in Riverfront Park early Sunday morning when gunshots were fired here in the 100 block of Front Street. There are cameras in the area, but did they capture the shooting?

We asked Albany Police whether it captured the shooting. They wouldn't even tell us if they've checked the footage. City leaders tell us the cameras might not be much help.

This nighttime view from a downtown surveillance camera didn't show much when numerous fights broke out during the city's Fourth of July celebration in 2012.

“They were not intended to do nighttime and in order for us to do that we would have to upgrade the system and use a much more expensive camera," said Wes Smith.

Police aren't saying whether the cameras may have recorded the people responsible for shooting 23-year-old Alexander Harris Sunday morning. Cameras are scattered throughout downtown at Ray Charles Park, .Riverfront Park and at the intersection of Jefferson and Residence.

“They were put up just for general day time use. They are not monitored constantly,' said Wes Smith.

Officials said they're only monitored when large events like the Albany Marathon come to town.

" During the fourth of July we will actually have an officer monitor them when we have big crowds and things like that and that gives us an extra set of eyes," continued Smith.

When the $330,000 system was installed six years ago city leaders said nighttime motion sensors could alert dispatchers in the 9-1-1 center if people were in the park after hours, but apparently that's not happening. Now, we're told the system needs major upgrades to capture quality video at night.

"Technology changes so rapidly the cameras we couldn't afford then we might be able to afford now," said Wes Smith.

The system doesn't come close to matching Albany State University's 335 on-campus cameras that are monitored at all times. Still, Smith believes they have been effective.

“I think for what they were purchased for they do fine. But this is not a real high in system and was not intended for that kind of use," said Wes Smith.

Smith said there are also four hunting cameras 2..used by APD and 2..used by Code Enforcement that are used to catch activity such as illegal dumpers and have been effective for that.

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