Greenwood’s camera surveillance system is coming along slowly but surely.

A fifth camera was installed last week, pointed toward the Howard Street underpass near U.S. 82. Like all the other cameras, the point is to deter would-be criminals from committing illegal offenses, particularly littering, which is rampant in the city.

By the end of the year, the city would like 13 cameras scattered throughout the city, with additional cameras added each year.

Though some on social media have question the cameras’ effectiveness and cost, it’s clear that they have shown promise in meeting their objective of helping police catch lawbreakers.

Mayor Carolyn McAdams told the City Council last week that the cameras “are working quite nicely for us,” explaining that three individuals have already been given citations for illegal dumping after being caught on camera.

It’s also hoped that the cameras could alleviate some of the issues the Police Department faces from an officer shortage.

In late February, Gavin Maliska, the Commonwealth’s managing editor, reported early-morning gunshots being fired near the intersection of Poplar Avenue and High Street.

Police Chief Ray Moore and a unnamed employee of the Police Department both claimed initially that the shots were fired outside the city limits.

Maliska later came across 9 mm shell casings when he visited the scene.

Should a camera have been installed near the site of the gunfire, the perpetrator may have been caught or possibly wouldn’t even shoot if he or she knew there was a camera watching. That’s the hope, at least.

Moore has acknowledged to the mayor and council that his department is understaffed, which he blames partially on the difficulty in finding candidates who can meet the criteria for being an officer.

The cameras may evoke privacy concerns and fears of an eventual authoritarian state. The moves Greenwood is making, however, are no different than what countless cities across the country and abroad have done.

The effectiveness of surveillance cameras is up for debate, with some cities concluding they are a waste of money and others finding them helpful in reducing crime, or at least monitoring it more closely.

It’s hard for cities, or even individuals, to ignore, however, the innovations of technology, no matter what ills they may also bring.

Despite millions of Facebook users’ personal data being breached, individuals still choose to use the social networking website.

Despite the negatives associated with camera surveillance, it would be hard for Greenwood, or any other city in the country, to not employ them to help monitor crime and offset staffing shortages.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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