The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is gearing up to flip the switch on a new public safety tool: cameras.
Twenty cameras, remotely operated by deputies, will be watching out for the safety of residents in the University Community neighborhoods. The cameras will be mounted on utility poles at various locations. The cameras are in a tinted dome; a box, emblazoned with the Sheriff’s Office star on three sides for added visibility, will sit atop the cameras. Each box will be fitted with an amber strobe light to draw attention to its purpose and position.
The camera project is called Eye On Crime. The project has been about two years in the making. By this summer, the cameras will be operating, allowing deputies to keep an eye on
trouble spots, monitor streets for emergency situations and give residents a better feeling of safety.
The 20 cameras will be placed at strategic locations in an area bordered by Bearss Avenue, Fowler Avenue, Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, and Nebraska Avenue.
Eye On Crime is funded by a $1 million federal grant.
The cameras will not be a secret to anyone. The grant requires us to conduct community meetings to announce and describe the project before the first camera is activated. Residents can ask questions, check out the locations of each camera and learn how their quality of life can be improved with technology. By design, the cameras will be as overt and highly visible as feasible.
The cameras are wireless, and will be monitored by deputies at the Patrol District I headquarters, 14102 N. 20th Street. Deputies will also be able to access the camera feeds from the laptop computers in their patrol cars. The cameras can zoom, pan and monitor a 360 degree field of view. In addition, multiple cameras can be monitored at the same time to watch intersections and parking lots. The cameras will record activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that footage will be stored for a pre-defined amount of time. That affords deputies the opportunity to review what the cameras captured days or weeks earlier.
The cameras will monitor only public areas, so the residents have no worries about a camera looking into their windows or back yards. The idea is to provide a visible, identifiable deterrent to crime but at the same time make it viable to offer safety and security for the residents.
(Click map to enlarge)