Eugene Police chief recommends mobile security cameras for downtown

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EUGENE, Ore. - Abdul Wahed wakes on a Monday ready to start work at his food truck Afghani Cuisine and German Sausage after a weekend off. When he arrives at his truck on Kesey Square he finds that it's been spray painted with graffiti.

"I'm very frustrated, I wish I could catch these people," Mahed said.

Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner is looking for ways to combat crimes like these in downtown Eugene.

Chief Skinner looked at different ways to prevent crime in problem areas. On of his ideas is to use technology to increase security when police presence isn't available.

"Part of that would be an elevated camera platform for us to be able to keep track of that particular type behavior downtown," Chief Skinner said.

Chief Skinner suggested that the city purchase three of these cameras estimated to cost around $20,000- 85,000. The cameras can live stream footage to police and can be moved to any location.

"Mobile cameras for me, give tremendous flexibility because where the issue is today, may not be the issue tomorrow," Skinner said.

But some people, like Eugene local Julia Mahncke, see both positives and negatives to the added security.

"I don't think it's wrong to have security cameras in public places that are maybe prone to criminal activity," Mahncke said. "I'm not sure that a constant live stream is the way to go because it does make it feel like your being watched all the time."

Skinner said the goal is not infringe on privacy.

"These are really meant to only be in the most public of places where no expectation of privacy should be," said Skinner.

He said rather the goal is for the cameras to be obvious so that people will know they're on camera.

"That's really the key here is we want to deter this crime," said Skinner.

Wahed is hopeful that it will help police in their effort to reduces the crime that he believes deters customers from entering downtown businesses.

"If you just go to the monitor and they see on the camera who it was, what happened and what they did. It will make their job more easier."

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