Belle Meade considers new camera system to make city safer

Belle Meade considers new camera system to make city safer (Image 1)

An already safe community is trying to be safer.

Belle Meade is a wealthy city with a relatively low crime rate.

City leaders hope to keep it that way by exploring a new camera system that would proactively video tape traffic while reading every license plate of every car that passes through designated intersections.

The proposed camera system is not a traffic enforcement project, but a crime deterrent and safety measure.

City Commissioner Gray Thornburg told News 2 city leaders are considering a state of the art high definition video system that would record all traffic at “designated intersections” in the 3.1 square mile city.

According to officials, secondary cameras would also read every license plate of every car that passes through those intersections.

“We are seriously investigating it. We are looking at license plate recognition and video cameras in intersections in Belle Meade. We hope it is a crime deterrent and can be used forensically after the fact if there is a crime,” explained Thornburg.

According to Thornburg, the cameras would be posted in an undetermined number of intersections. There would also be signs alerting motorists that the cameras are present as they enter and exit the city.

A second camera would capture all license plates and would immediately notify police if a tag is recognized as wanted by local police or federal authorities.

Some citizens have expressed concerns about privacy, but Thornburg said the safety aspects far outweigh the negatives.

“Every day we go into stores and we are on video camera. It’s a balance. I’d rather make sure my personal safety was at a higher level every day,” said Thornburg.

She could not say what the project will cost because of unknown infrastructure concerns.

The price depends on whether the system is wireless or hardwired. It also depends on how many intersections are involved.

Thornburg said the cost will be picked up by the city which has a surplus of funds for these types of city expenditures.

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