Security camera changes expected to pass - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Security camera changes expected to pass

Posted: Updated:

Waterloo is planning security changes for certain businesses in order to reduce crime within the city. An ordinance that would require local businesses to install surveillance cameras is expected to pass at the Waterloo City Council meeting Monday night. 

Waterloo City Councilman Steve Schmitt says Lt. Greg Fangman from the Waterloo Police department has been working hand-in-hand with local businesses over the past few months to draft a reasonable plan for the new security systems. 

Waterloo Police say the new requirement would better assist their department during investigations.  

Businesses which would have to comply include: Banks or credit unions, Food and drink carry out, Coin dealers, Convenience stores, Delayed deposit service businesses, Firearm dealers, Liquor or Alcohol businesses, Media, Mobile communications retailers, Money transmission services, Pawn brokers, Pharmacy's, Scrap metal dealers, and Second hand good dealers. 

St. Vincent De Paul in Waterloo is a second-hand goods store. Currently, they have one surveillance camera inside their store monitoring their cash register and entrance. 

Ross Samek, who installs security cameras for Hawkeye alarm says most businesses have some sort of monitoring system in place.

"They just want to see the comings and going of people, or if there is a specific spot customers having trouble with," said Samek. "Either theft or vandalism and just a deterrent-a security camera is a great deterrent to stop someone in the first place."

Under the ordinance, at least one camera would be required inside St.Vincent and one on the outside monitoring the parking lot.

St. Vincent Executive Director Patrick Russo says they plan on installing three or four cameras once the ordinance goes into effect. Russo, who has already upgraded the technology at his warehouse, says he expects to be paying around $2,000 for the new cameras. 

Hawkeye Alarm says they haven't necessarily seen an increase in camera installation, but more-so upgrading their technology. 

"Previous technology has kind of hit a wall," said Samek. "And the newer technology have given us higher picture quality and longer storage. Old technology you could see oh there was somebody doing something. Now you can identify clothing and facial features and you know if you have them positioned correctly, license plates, and the real identifiers that police and authorities need to identify or place someone at a scene." 

The surveillance systems would be required to be kept in continuous operation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At least one employee of the business is required to know how to operate the system, including downloading video to a digital media storage device. 

Schmitt says hotels and motels, which were included in the original plan were excluded from the final list because of the number of entrances and exits.

"The new ordinance would require businesses to store video for only 15 days," said Schmitt. The original plan had drafted a requirement of 30 days. 

Businesses which fall under these categories and have already purchased and installed surveillance camera systems within the last year, would have three years to make sure their system complies with the new requirements that are adopted. These businesses would have to provide written documentation showing proof of purchase or date of installation. 

As of right now, these businesses would have to install systems that meet "minimum technology standards." According to the ordinance, these standards would be established by the City Council, and may be updated periodically. The Waterloo Police department will review these standards every five years and make recommendations to the Council based on current technology.

Cameras would have to be placed in several distinct locations, including one interior, and one exterior. The interior camera would need to capture anybody who is entering or exiting through the doors that are left unsecured at all times. The exterior camera would monitor the customer parking area. The ordinance also gives businesses the option of placing a camera over cash registers and/or check stands, as long as they are within 15 feet from one another. All cameras would have to be installed where products or advertisements will not block the view of people entering or exiting the business. 

Businesses will be subject to inspections by the Waterloo Police department to ensure they are complying with the surveillance system requirements.

All businesses that fall within these categories, will have 18 months from the day the ordinance is passed, to comply. 

To read more information about specific requirements, enforcement, and inspection, visit the proposed ordinance.  

Powered by Frankly