Small Md. town going hi-tech with new security surveillance came - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Small Md. town going hi-tech with new security surveillance cameras

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Fighting crime is going high-tech in a small Maryland town. Patrol officers will now have the ability to police multiple locations at the same time.

We are talking about surveillance cameras and Forest Heights is putting them up all over the place. They are not cheap either, but officials there have figured out a way to use money generated from one set of cameras to pay for another set of cameras.

Four new surveillance cameras are watching over Forest Heights, Md. One camera even caught our news van approaching the town hall for an interview with the chief of police.

“We want these children, the elderly, people coming back and forth traversing our area to feel safe,” said Forest Heights Police Chief Stewart Russell.

The cameras are positioned in high-traffic areas and are able to zoom in to capture high-resolution details like a license plate. The cameras also have infrared and night vision capabilities.

And officers can access the cameras wherever they are on laptops.

“I love technology and what it can do, but it will never or should never take the place of police work -- efficient police departments, efficient police officers, professional officers,” said Chief Russell.

“In this crime today, I think it'll stop a lot of crime,” said one resident.

We didn't meet any neighbors who don't want the cameras. In fact, they appear to be a welcome sight.

“They know who's coming in and out of the neighborhoods, so it does make me feel safe,” said one woman.

“I think we need it,” said another resident. “I really do because crime is going out of control.”

“As long as you're not invading anyone's privacy, I think it's a real good thing,” said another.

In a town of fewer than 2,500 people, the $60,000 price tag for the new cameras is a big chunk of change. But Forest Heights is generating enough money from two speed cameras to foot the bill for the surveillance cameras.

And small town or not, Chief Russell says he's got a job to do.

“Crime doesn't concern itself with the number of people living in the town,” he said. “It is the responsibility of the mayor, the police department to uphold public safety.”

This is only phase one of a four phase plan. Eventually Forest Heights will have a total of 22 surveillance cameras.

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