ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In a Downtown St. Pete Park where a crowd gathers during the day, there's an extra set of eyes keeping watch.
"This park, I've been here all my life and I've had to catch the bus as young girl and I've never felt completely safe," a passerby told us.
You may not notice it up there staring back at you, perched under the eaves of the Williams Park amphitheatre. And the city is hoping that works in their favor.
"People really won't know where they are. These are the kind of devices that people won't know where they are necessarily which could be a good thing," said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.
Mayor Bill Foster says the new surveillance camera isn't monitored 24-hours a day, but it rolls on everything, all the time. Not only at Williams Park. You can find the new cameras at Fossil and Lake Vista Parks too. The city is also installing cameras at the Port and the airport. It’s the newest way, he says, the city and police are trying to curtail crime in high-traffic areas.
"They have joysticks that they can be controlled with and they can zoom and they can scan and if an officer wants to focus in a particular area of the park, they can do that. It's all recorded," said St. Pete Police spokesman Mike Puetz.
And soon, if the cameras pay-off, St. Pete Police may use them more often. The idea, says Puetz, is to get the images to officers in the field so they can see them on patrol. Right now, though, the cameras are just a pilot program.
The cameras cost taxpayers a little upwards of $10,000.
Not everyone likes them. Some say they're an intrusion or call them Big Brother. But the Mayor says if they work out, there may be more.
"Same thing in high crime areas, hot spots, again it's an extension of their eyes and ears. That's really what we want," said Foster.
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