New Security Camera on Charleston's West Side

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- New security measures are going up at a troubled gas station on Charleston's West Side after several acts of violence in the last year.

Police are cracking down on crime by installing a new security camera, mounted on a utility pole on Virginia Street West across from the 7-Eleven. Police say they hope it will help them catch criminals, but people in the neighborhood have mixed feelings about whether it will make anything better.

"You certainly look around and make sure that there's nothing hazardous out here," Jim Toney, who works on the West Side, said of what he does when he leaves work each evening.

Toney, who has worked for Hooten Equipment for more than 40 years, said he has seen the neighborhood gradually go downhill because of increased crime.

Charleston Police say they hope the new camera will offer an advantage beyond what a patrol officer can do.

"A patrol officer cannot stand in one spot 24 hours, seven days a week," Lt. Steve Cooper said. "He will be called away to an emergency up the road."

While there are already a handful of cameras throughout the city, Cooper said police want criminals to know about this one and think it could act as a deterrent to crime.

"Instead of just capturing a crime on video and arresting people, why not prevent the crime so nobody gets hurt, no stray bullets hit a house or a child?" Cooper said.

The camera records 24 hours a day, but Cooper said it is only monitored intermittently. However, the footage can be reviewed in case of a crime.

"Say an incident takes place, we can go back and review that incident, find out who was involved, what they were driving and then just go pick them up at their homes and arrest them," Cooper said.

Neighbors did not want to talk on camera because of the crime they see, saying they would be targeted. Two of them told they don't think the cameras will help and that criminals will do what they want.

Toney tells he worries about becoming a victim just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"If somebody decides they're not doing right today and they decide to shoot a gun off, people could get in the way when they don't want to be in the way," Toney said.

As the camera watches the West Side, neighbors will be watching to see if it's effective in cleaning up their streets.

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