Ped mall cameras up and running in Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ped mall cameras up and running in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - This summer, a security project began in downtown Iowa City. The Downtown Association raised money to put up a handful of security cameras in the city's pedestrian plaza, also known as the ped mall.

Now that they're installed, police and business owners say they provide an extra layer of security, in one of Iowa City's most popular gathering spots.

Sgt. Denise Brotherton said in an interview on Tuesday, that they may be a valuable tool to be used in robbery and assault investigations.

"It's obviously not being used to invade peoples' privacy. We're not viewing it constantly, to say, 'oh look who's doing this, look who's doing that,' it's going to be used for those significant crimes," Sgt. Brotherton said.

She told us  that serious crimes like aggravated assault are down in this area, compared to this time in previous years. Business owner and city council member Terry Dickens said these cameras, in combination with the city's 21-and-over bar entry ordinance and additional officers posted in downtown, are all helping to make things safer.

"We used to have a lot of windows broken, you know, things thrown on our windows; it was kind of a mess all the time," said Dickens. "We had several young people that had been assaulted out here, and ask if we had it on camera."

But recently, Dickens has noticed that it's been quieter around his shop.

"If people know there's a camera up there, they are going to be a little more conscious of criminal activity."

While helpful, Sgt. Brotherton said these cameras are not a solution to solving ped mall crimes.

"It's not like being handed a driver's license photo of somebody, where you have their name, you have their face right there."

But, she says they will be useful in setting things straight when investigations become confusing.

"Even if we didn't know who the suspect was, to place our victim there, to see who the person was to try to get identification," Brotherton explained.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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