November 16, 2012

Surveillance cameras being installed in Wichita’s Old Town district

Four surveillance cameras are being installed in Old Town to increase security in the entertainment district.

Four surveillance cameras are being installed in Old Town to increase security in the entertainment district.

The first camera was placed on the roof of the Hotel at Old Town earlier this week, said Charlie Claycomb, president of the Old Town Association. Additional cameras are going to be placed on the Rumley building on the northeast side of Old Town Square, the Grant Telegraph building at First and Mead and the west side of the parking garage next to the Hotel at Old Town.

The cameras and monitoring system should be operational by the middle of next week, Claycomb said. The cameras are part of a multi-faceted response to four gun violence incidents downtown in August and September. They’re being paid for by private funds from business owners.

“I think it’ll give patrons to Old Town a better feeling, that there’s more sets of eyes watching things,” Claycomb said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

The camera on the hotel roof “can read tag numbers up at Central, so we’ll have a good view of 200 N. Mosley,” he said.

Police officials have said the 200 block of North Mosley has been responsible for most criminal activity in Old Town, along with a six-hour period each week: 12:30 to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“Everything is fine down in Old Town, except for those six hours a week and the 200 block of Mosley,” Tom Stolz, then deputy police chief, told the Eagle in September.

That block is home to Old Town’s largest club, Doc Howard’s, but police officials say the issues have been with crowds mingling after several clubs in the area close.

The cameras have 180-degree fish eye lenses that can be monitored and rotated by police officers staffing the Old Town community policing station, Claycomb said. The system will store a week’s worth of surveillance footage at a time, allowing officers to download them onto DVDs and then review footage later.

Claycomb said the cameras won’t be constantly manned, so officers will have to decide where they want the cameras pointed during unstaffed periods.

“We’re trying to cover all the streets down here,” he said.

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