194 surveillance cameras coming to Gainesville - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

194 surveillance cameras coming to Gainesville


GAINESVILLE -- If you live in, or visit, the city of Gainesville expect to see more surveillance cameras, 194 more, to be exact.

Sixteen surveillance cameras are already up and running in Gainesville.

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Eleven at Frank Buck Zoo were installed late last year. Four in the downtown area and one at the skate park were installed earlier this year.

But now, Gainesville's city council has given the green light to nearly 200 more.

"What we're trying to do in Gainesville is take advantage of technology, proved technology that's helped impact and lower the crime rate in a lot of communities," mayor Jim Goldsworthy said.

Donna Hertel owns three businesses visible from two cameras downtown.

Before they were installed, she says small items in front of her stores were being stolen; not anymore.

"So the cameras are a blessing for us, I mean, as a business owner we feel like we have a little bit more control over what happens to our businesses when we're not able to be there," Hertel said.

The cost to install the additional cameras is $519,767, money Goldworthy says was already built into the city's budget. The contract is through a North Carolina-based company called WildFire Camera Networks. The video will be recorded at the Gainesville police station.

Goldsworthy says the new cameras will be installed in public places around town, to deter graffiti, drug activity and theft.

"And, if you're not breaking the law, there's really nothing to worry about," Goldsworthy said.

But more eyes in the sky makes some question whether the balance between security and privacy has tipped too far.

"I think we're losing a lot of our privacy," Annette Winkles said. "Most people are thinking of security, but we're losing a lot of our freedom."

The city says it expects to have the cameras installed and operating by the beginning of the year.

In the future, Goldsworthy says he hopes to give business owners the chance to purchase a camera which would operate on the city's system.