Chief Skinner eyes mobile security cameras for downtown

Chief Skinner told the Eugene City Council the cameras would be put in the downtown core and the locations would be based on complaints from business owners and crime data.

Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 6:27 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Chief Chris Skinner of the Eugene Police Department believes mobile security camera trailers may be part of the solution to crime in the downtown area. He pitched the idea to the Eugene City Council Tuesday night.

"This is purposefully to not secretly watch people, but overtly let you know that behavior is being held accountable in the downtown core," Chief Skinner said to the councilors.

Chief Skinner told the council he wants two or three of these so-called "Guardian Trailers." They will be put in the downtown core and other problem areas based on crime data and complaints from business owners. Police will be able to monitor the video in real time over the internet. Chief Skinner said they won't have to hire more officers in order to do the program.

"It really spreads our resources around the downtown core much more efficiently than what we have right now," Chief Skinner said.

Susan Costa, owner of Mosaic Fair Trade Collection on Broadway, said the cameras would be a welcome addition to downtown. She doesn't mind the price tag of the trailers, which Chief Skinner said could run as much as $80,000 each.

"I think it's an excellent idea," Costa said. "We would welcome them. I think it will improve Public Safety, and we are all for improving safety for everybody."

The Eugene City Council decided they wanted more information and will pick up the topic at a later time. Councilor Betty Taylor said she is worried about privacy. Chief Skinner told KEZI 9 News the cameras are just one strategy he has to fight crime downtown, and he will work with the city council to get them up as soon as possible.

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