Police ask for more cameras at the Oceanfront

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — If Virginia Beach Police have their way, more eyes will be watching what you do at the Oceanfront.

Police surveillance cameras are perched up on street signs and major intersections at the Oceanfront, and it’s a Big Brother feeling some are already uncomfortable with.

“I think we should be able to go wherever we please without the government interfering or Big Brother watching our every step and every move that we make,” said tourist Patrick Washington.

Right now there are 19 police cameras and 13 traffic operations cameras, most located on the boardwalk and Atlantic Avenue. But now the department wants to upgrade its current surveillance system and add more cameras. Police say the additional cameras will give them better coverage of the area, and by extension, increase public safety.

And some people see the positives that could come from the change.

“It will probably increase some of the business down here because people will feel more secure about walking up and down the street during later times of the night or early in the morning,” said tourist Tabitha Blanscet.

Right now, officers can use the surveillance cameras to zoom in, pan and tilt on dozens of spots along the Oceanfront, but they would like a more high tech camera system to zoom into recorded video to better look for evidence.

“If we have an incident or event that occurs, we need to be able to zoom into a particular portion of the video to be able to better see faces and identify individuals that may be involved in something,” said Lt. Bob Christman.

So the police department is asking the city for $7.5 million over the next three years to ramp up the camera presence. In that time, the department wants to bring the total number of cameras from 32 to 88.

“We intend to have end to end coverage from Rudee Inlet all the way down to 40th Street,” Christman said. “We would also like to have the same thing covering Atlantic Avenue to Rudee Inlet all the way up to 40th Street as well.”

City council still has to approve the proposal in their budget. Council members are expected to vote on the budget next month.

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