RIPON (CBS13) — The city of Patterson wants to get a better look at itself and it is turning to nearby Ripon to do it. Patterson’s police chief Tori Hughes said she’d like to have several video surveillance cameras installed around the city to deter crime and catch burglars in action.
“We’ve seen a lot of social media how effective it is in capturing suspects who committed crimes in their communities,” said Hughes.
Ripon was one of the first California communities to go under full-time city surveillance nearly 10 years ago. More than 80 cameras are installed in either commercial or public areas.
“We’re not trying to spy on people or nothing like that,” said Ripon Police Lt. Steve Merchant. “We have them on the main roadways, our local schools, our business park areas.”
There are no cameras in residential areas.
The Ripon Police Department said the cameras helped officers catch metal thieves at the Recycling Center and just last week, track an arson suspect in real time. Injuries at the skate park are sometimes seen by 911 dispatchers before the call for help comes in.
“Sometimes literally, you can see people waving at the camera and we’ll send an officer over there,” said Merchant.
Several Ripon residents said they prefer to have the public areas monitored by law enforcement.
“We get a lot of people if their car was broken into or their kid’s bike was stolen, they’ll ask us right away ‘Can you check the cameras?” said Merchant.
Ripon homeowner Wes Villines said he’s glad the cameras are there, especially in shopping areas.
“Oh I love them,” said Villines. “Gives me a sense of security and I think gives the community a sense of security.”
Mother Lisa Lebeau lives near a school and wonders if the camera catches her house.
“It is a little eery to know someone is watching at all times, but I guess it’s a good thing,” said Lebeau. “I’d rather have someone watching, who is trying to protect the town as opposed to nobody watching.”
The price for the high tech type of babysitter is not cheap. One camera with installation averages $10,000. Ripon partnered with businesses like Save Mart to install cameras in the parking lot. Patterson’s police chief said the city would most likely look at forming similar partnerships to pay for as many cameras as possible, if approved.