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Organization hopes to boost downtown Columbia security with camera grants


An organization with a mission to make Columbia's downtown more appealing said Tuesday that it will award grants to businesses to install security cameras.

Businesses within the Downtown Community Improvement District can apply for an exterior-camera grant offered by the organization. The idea is to increase safety by having more electronic eyes watching for a crime. The grant program will expire on July 31 or when the funds have run out.

The grant is meant to help businesses deal with vandalism, theft and overall public safety. Any business or property in the boundaries of The District can apply for the grant. Grant applications are available on The District's website.

"Vandalism sometimes happens to the building, any type of criminal activity that we might see down here, the more cabers the better I think to help identify these people." Nickie Davis, executive director of The District, said.

The District has set aside $30,000 for the grant program and will reimburse each business up to $2,000 after installation. The grants will pay for cameras that are located outside, or indoor cameras and pointed outside.

"We really want to help businesses that either wouldn't be able to afford this in the first place or update those ones that they might have," Davis said. "We don't want to deter anybody, any business from getting these financially."

Although many Downtown businesses already have security cameras, Davis says there needs to be more outside.

"There are a lot of cameras on the inside of businesses, but there aren't as many on the outside or facing outdoors you know," Davis said. "When we have reports of certain graffiti going up its hard to finder those individuals because there isn't a lot of outdoor cameras or outward facing cameras."

The camera grants follow an unsuccessful push by the Columbia Police Department to purchase software that would allow police direct access to camera footage from cooperating businesses. The District supported use of the software.

Davis says the grant program was in the works before the talks of the software.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

Erika McGuire


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