12.15.22 – GLUCKSTADT, Miss. – WLBT – By Anthony Warren
Gluckstadt’s police chief hopes a new ordinance will send a strong message that crime will not be tolerated in Mississippi’s newest city.
On Tuesday, the mayor and board of aldermen approved an ordinance requiring retail business centers with 25 or more parking spaces or 2,000 square feet of building space to install video surveillance cameras.
The ordinance, which goes into effect 30 days after passage, requires cameras to meet certain resolution requirements, and to cover parking lots, entry and exit points from businesses. Businesses also must post signage saying that surveillance systems are in place.
“We want them for a deterrent and more of an investigative tool,” Police Chief Wendell Watts said. “If a crime occurs, we can use the footage to capture [the suspects] quickly and get the word out that this is not the city to come to and commit crimes in.”
He says he appreciates the mayor and board for supporting the ordinance and supporting law enforcement.
“Things like this benefit everybody,” Watts said.
According to a draft copy of the measure found on Gluckstadt’s website, businesses shall install, maintain and operate camera systems “capable of producing retrievable and identifiable images and storing them on digital video recorders, or other comparable media, that can be enlarged and used to assist law enforcement in offender identification, apprehension and prosecution.”
The cameras must have a minimum of 480 total vertical lines, a 640×480 recording resolution and infrared capability for nighttime use. The devices must be able to store data for 30 days or more.
“If we have a crime, we’ll have something to go on,” Watts said. “They will use with developing a timeline, and we can use them [in conjunction] with the cameras we installed throughout the city in identifying suspects.”
Cameras must be installed 18 months from the measure’s effective date. Failure to do so could result in a $500-a-day penalty, the draft ordinance states.
Amazon.com shows camera systems range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on quality and resolution.
Architect Daniel Wooldridge says the ordinance is a “good idea.”
Wooldridge has designed or developed more than 140,000 square feet of retail space across the city, including Sullivan’s Market Place at the intersection of Gluckstadt Road and Mississippi 463.
Other projects Wooldridge has been involved in include a restaurant across from Sullivan’s called the Twisted Turnip, which is slated to open in January, as well as a 15,000-square-foot retail center next to it, which is all leased and expected to open in the spring.
“It’s a small price to pay and a smart move to make the city safer,” he said.
Ticket prices in Gluckstadt also are going up, with the board of aldermen approving a $2 surcharge for Crime Stoppers.
The additional fee will be added to tickets and other misdemeanor charges prosecuted through municipal court.
Proceeds from the fee will go to Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers to go toward rewards for tipsters. The funds will be collected by the city and then turned over to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which will then turn it over to Crime Stoppers, the ordinance states.
Watts, a longtime law enforcement veteran, says that over the years, Crime Stoppers has “assisted in the capture of numerous major criminals, not just here [but] all over.”