Little Rock to add citywide surveillance cameras

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - The high crime rate in Little Rock is a challenge the city has been facing for years. But Tuesday the police department announced a modern way to catch crooks that has many people wondering if it's worth it.

"We've been discussing the cameras since last year," said Cassandra Davis, Spokesperson for the Little Rock Police Department.

It's a new and controversial way the Little Rock Police Department is hoping to cut down on the city's high crime rates. With cameras installed up high, watching and recording 24/7.

"Hopefully we can deter some crime or either be able go back and look at some footage where we can help solve some crimes," said Davis.

The city is planning to invest over $500,000 for the high tech cameras. They say this constant surveillance also helps police make arrests.

"We've been able to solve some crimes and identify individuals from the cameras we do have in the River Market.

One North Little Rock purchased this technology years ago and they say it's worth every penny.

"Several felony arrests have directly resulted from footage provided by the cameras," said Nathan Hamilton, Communications Director for the North Little Rock. "Usually crime tends to decrease in an area where a camera has been stationed," he added.

But not everyone is on board with the idea.

"We don't want to live in a policed state where the government has the power to track the moves of every person even in their own neighborhood," said John Burnett, a Civil Attorney and volunteer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas. "Video surveillance is costly, it's invasive and it's ineffective," he said.

Davis insists the police department will only use to assist with crimes.

"We're not zooming into anyone's living room so we're not violating anyone's rights," said Davis.