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8.22.21 – AP

Mississippi city will require many businesses and shopping centers to install video cameras to help law enforcement officers identify people who commit crimes.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week approved an ordinance mandating the cameras at businesses and shopping centers with at least 25 parking spaces or buildings of at least 2,000 square feet (186 square meters).

The Vicksburg Post reported that the cameras must go on buildings that surround or face the parking areas, and they must show the buildings’ entrances and exits.

The cameras must be able to store data for 30 days. Shopping center managers are required to operate the cameras at least two hours before the first business opens and two hours after the last business closes, seven days a week.

The ordinance was published Friday and takes effect in 30 days. Existing businesses have a year to install the cameras. New businesses will have to comply with the ordinance before opening.

“It’s going to be a great thing, especially in the prosecution of people who commit crimes,” said A.G. Helton, chief executive officer for Action Properties of Yazoo City, which manages several properties in Vicksburg.

“I do like the fact that we do have 12 months to be installed because this could turn out to be an expensive proposition, but I think the city was forward-thinking in this for the best interest of the fine people of Vicksburg,” Helton said.

Paul Patel is manager/partner in Vicksburg with Southern Hospitality Services LLC, which owns several hotels in the city. He said all of the company’s properties “already have a security system, as the safety of all our guests and employees is of utmost importance to us. Cameras cover all entrances to the parking lot and also entrances into the buildings.”

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Vicksburg cannot hire enough police officers to be everywhere.

“All we’re doing is bringing something forward that we believe is in the best interest of the public,” Flaggs said. “It’s a safety feature.”

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