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Charleston Police Hope Security Camera Will Curb Crime At West Side 7-Eleven

Reported: Apr. 18, 2014 5:37 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 18, 2014 5:47 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) -- Charleston police are taking technology to the streets and hoping a new security camera will curb crime at a west side convenience store at the center of a lot of problems.

The camera is just one of several that are scattered throughout the city, in what police call problematic areas. Some of the cameras are hidden and police don't publicize where they are, but the newly installed one is one they want people to know is there.

It's been mounted on a pole just across the street from the 7-Eleven on West Washington Street. It will not be monitored 24 hours a day, but will be monitored intermittently.

"We call our window a big screen TV," says Kay Swinney. She's talking about the window where she works at Hooten Equipment Company, just feet away from the store.

"We see drug deals go down, we see drug busts, and we've seen gun fights, and different things," she says.

"This can be here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A patrol officer can not stand in one spot 24 hours, seven days a week," says Lt. Steve Cooper.

Eyewitness News reported on March 17 that 194 calls for service had been made from the address in the last year. As of April 18, 22 more calls had come in since then.

In March, a man was shot in the chest in the parking lot as 13 rounds were fired. Last year, two men were shot inside the store in what has been called a completely random act of violence.

"Instead of just capturing the crime on video and arresting the people, why not prevent the crime?" says Cooper.

"I'm sure they can clean it up. It used to be a great place to live for people. If they have more presence, as far as the police officers maybe coming around more, and the cameras are great, I think that will help a lot," Swiney says.

Some people living in the area, and Mayor Danny Jones have suggested that the store should have a window only policy during certain hours.



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