MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach city leaders approved a new plan to put in nearly $1.3 million worth of surveillance cameras at a meeting Tuesday.
"When you only have a certain number of police officers in town, you've got to figure out some way to have better coverage," said Mayor John Rhodes.
The cameras will be installed in four phases.
Phase One: 32 cameras will be installed all along Ocean Boulevard by the middle of May.
Phase Two: 112 cameras will go in at beach access points all over the city.
Several city council members asked for the cameras to be as far north, or farther north than 65th Ave North. All these cameras should be installed by July 1.
Phase Three: 333 cameras will be installed in back streets by October 1.
Phase Four: 248 more cameras will be scattered around the city by December.
The city currently has 14 cameras within city limits.
"That's the best way that we feel that we can address the issue of stopping crime or even identifying someone or a suspect after a crime has happened," said Mayor Rhodes.
The mayor says the city has taken notes from what it has seen around the Carolinas and even the country.
He says both Columbia and Charleston have had success with the cameras, but the camera's value was really proven two years ago at the Boston Bombings.
"I mean, this guy might as well have stood and smiled at the camera because he was caught right there, and that was able to give Boston authorities proper identification," Rhodes explained.
While some residents worry about the cameras being too intrusive, Mayor Rhodes says the city is not looking to be a police state. He says the city is simply trying to protect its locals and visitors.
Lt. Crosby with Myrtle Beach PD says the main idea behind the cameras is to use them to gather information when responding to a scene, but he says since the cameras record all day, invaluable evidence for cases from as small as a car break in to something much bigger is made available.