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State College Installs Security Cameras Throughout Downtown

by on May 06, 2014 2:00 PM

The installation of security cameras throughout the downtown area of State College is underway.

In all, cameras will be installed at 14 locations in the downtown area, including at Borough Hall, three parking garages and points of interest on Beaver Avenue, College Avenue, Atherton Street, Calder Way, McAllister Street, Garner Street, Sowers Street, Locust Street and Heister Street.

As part of a $450,000 project, the cameras are intended to deter crime as well as serve as evidence during the investigation of crimes that have occurred, according to Hillary Pasch, IT project manager with the borough.

"Public safety is our main goal," says Pasch. "While there's not a ton of research that says they will serve as a deterrent we hope that they will. ... Overall public safety was the main goal for the project."

Pasch says installation will be complete within a few weeks.

When discussing the project in February, State College police Lt. Keith Robb said the cameras help prevent crime and help investigators solve crimes, from assaults to crashes to vandalism. When police receive a report of a crime, investigators can refer to the video to see what exactly occurred and identify suspects and witnesses.

Additionally, police can pull images from video after a crime and use those images to catch a suspect by releasing the images to the public. State College police frequently release surveillance video from outdoor cameras as well as retail establishments and apartment complexes to catch criminals.

"It's the wave of the future," Robb says. "The best witness is a video camera."

The cameras will operate through a wireless radio system. Officials will not monitor the cameras 24-hours a day, Pasch says.

Only authorized personnel will have access to the footage – parking officials for the cameras in the garages, borough officials for cameras that monitor cash transactions inside the State College Municipal Building, and police will have access to all cameras as needed, Pasch says.

Meanwhile, Penn State officials continue to install 450 Internet protocol-based video surveillance cameras in 60 residence halls and commons buildings at the University Park campus. The cameras will monitor ground-floor entrance lobbies, exit stairwells, elevators and commons service desks.

"Safety is a priority and we're continually searching for ways to further enhance it for our residents and their guests," Gail Hurley, associate vice president for auxiliary and business services, said last fall when the university announced the project.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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