Feeling safer on Main Street
FD business owners appreciate new camera system
Downtown security cameras were the main topic of discussion at Tuesday night’s Main Street Matters meeting. Around 10 downtown business owners and employees met at Shiny Top Brewing to discuss downtown safety.
Owner of Candies and More and president of Webster County Crime Stoppers, Terry Cook, gave a short presentation about the organization and said they are looking for new members to join.
Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, discussed the possibility of “block captains” among the downtown businesses. Block captains act as a network to share information with the other businesses downtown, such as warning others of a suspicious person or making sure everyone is aware of an upcoming event.
“A couple years ago we had identified some block captains and people that have been on the downtown watch program,” she said.
Patrick said they still have some business owners serving as captains, but they would like to have more so each block is covered.
Lastly, Jason Lumsden, alarm and security manager with Iowa Fire Control, presented the group with information about the recently installed security cameras in the downtown area.
“As of about the middle of November we have full coverage downtown. … There’s about 34 cameras and around 40 views continuously recording around the clock,” he said.
Lumsden said the system can store footage for several months with the ability to expand that storage. He said if downtown businesses would like to have cameras added to their building, they can choose to add them to the downtown system. Business owners would be able to choose which cameras are part of the system and if law enforcement needed to access the footage, they could do so without needing the business owner to be present.
Lumsden said since the cameras have been operational, footage has been used at least six times resulting in arrests and providing incriminating evidence.
Lumsden said the system can and will continue to grow, adding more coverage. He said plans are in the works to add more cameras and possibly more monitors for law enforcement to be able to watch live.
Lumsden showed several of the business owners the live feed of their storefronts and many expressed excitement to see their businesses being covered.
Several business owners shared stories of concerning events that have happened around their businesses and said they are thankful to now have security footage in case something else were to happen.
The City Council awarded Iowa Fire Control a $195,176 contract in August 2021 for the installation of the camera system. Main Street Fort Dodge helped to pay for it.