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JONESBORO, Ark. – The police department installed its first SkyCop camera system Wednesday in Jonesboro and it’s now live, being monitored and recorded, JPD said.
The location of the first is the area of Cedar Heights and Melrose. Shootings and break-ins have been reported in the area at a much higher rate than other areas in town. North Jonesboro, where the intersection is located, has suffered regular instances of shootings in 2019.
But the hope is that with back-up from technology, criminals will think twice.
They’re called SkyCop cameras. They’re new to Jonesboro but our neighbors in Memphis have been experimenting with them for years. The company touts its success without virtually any mention of flaws. Several reports show modest improvements.
An Action News 5 investigation found that in the first 90 days of use, five out of seven districts using SkyCop camera systems showed a reduction in crime. The report did not have year-over-year crime estimates but a 2009 case study cited by SkyCop on their website said the city saw a 10-percent reduction in crime.
In Blytheville, police told Region 8 News a SkyCop camera had caused less accidents to take place at a crash-prone intersection.
They’re not cheap, though. Pole cameras start at $5,500 each. Cities can receive grants but it is still a premium price for security cameras that is paid for by public money.
The cameras in Jonesboro record to a cloud-based system, said Sally Smith with JPD. It will be stored for 30 days and then deleted. She also said it will be monitored live from several locations including the police department and dispatch.
A solid blue light will be most visible at night on the camera system. An option exists to set the light to blink for added visibility.
So do you have to worry about getting a ticket if you’re caught speeding? Probably not. They’re not traffic cameras, JPD posted on Facebook. However, should a driver have an accident near the camera, it could be reviewed to determine who was at fault, which might then lead to a citation.
The cameras are made by a Memphis-based company, SkyCop Inc. Their website, including promotional materials, is available here.