Surveillance cameras to help catch criminals in Myrtle Beach, Conway

Surveillance cameras to help catch criminals in Myrtle Beach, Conway

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Taxpayers in Myrtle Beach can now see $1.3 million worth of their money if they just look up.

All of the city's surveillance cameras have been installed.

The installation of more than 800 surveillance cameras around Myrtle Beach was originally projected to be complete at the end of 2015, but severe weather and some connectivity issues delayed the completion date.

Now, all of the cameras are up and the final few will be connected to the system in the coming weeks for the end of phase four.

Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby said surveillance cameras are valuable tools.

"It is an unbiased witness," he said. "It tells the story with no angles or no bias. It will show exactly what happened."

The security cameras allow dispatch to watch a scene in real-time and give updates to officers responding to those scenes, Crosby said.

He added the cameras have already assisted in police investigations, such as helping law enforcement identify the suspect in an armed robbery and assault that occurred April 8.

"The surveillance cameras were able to capture the subject inside their vehicle, as well as a picture of the subject himself," Crosby said. "We were able to release that to the public and that certainly helped us in the investigation.".

The surveillance cameras benefit other facets of policing beyond criminal investigations. Cameras were recently installed at major intersections around the city for the final phase of the project to help the traffic unit analyze driving patterns after accidents.

"Is it a common occurrence to have an accident at a particular intersection and if so, why is that occurring?" Crosby said. "Is it a motorist error or driver error or is it something that is faulty with the traffic pattern?"

The cameras will not be used to ticket drivers, Crosby added.

Cameras are also acting as extra sets of eyes over in Conway, which has 25 total.

Some are scattered around the police department and others are down at Riverfront Park, the Riverwalk, the recreation complex and Smith Jones Park.

Several of the cameras, which were installed in the summer of 2015, can pan, tilt and zoom.

They're monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the front desk at the public safety building.

The cameras led to one arrest back in November, when Horry County Police Department investigators were able to use the system to locate a stolen truck and identify the suspect in multiple break-ins, Conway Police Department Sgt. Darren Alston said.

"It would not have been made without that video clip with us seeing that physical description of the suspect," Alston said. "We would've never closed the case, so it's very beneficial."

Conway City Council members gave preliminary approval to the purchase of two more cameras for the Riverwalk area. One will go under the Main Street Bridge to get a better view of the walkway next to the Jerry Cox building, where someone spray painted symbols all over one of the walls in January.

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