New crime fighting tool debuts this weekend

January 13, 2011 4:47:10 PM PST
It's one of the newest crime-fighting tools that shoppers will be seeing in busy parking lots in our area, giving police a bird's eye view of criminals looking to rip you off. Police hope their high-tech investment will cut down on everything from car burglaries to armed robberies and it's debuting in League City this weekend. Once fully extended on its scissor lift, its windows sit approximately 22 feet off the ground.

"We can get an observation from the top, looking down," said Lt. Greg Flowers with the League City Police Department.

The platform is equipped with three cameras that can see 360 degrees around it. They can be controlled remotely or from inside the unit.

"We can zoom in, and record on video persons in a parking lot, license plates, activity," said Lt. Flowers.

In fact, Lt. Flowers says the cameras can help read a license plate more than 1,000 feet away. The video is recorded and can be watched on any computer, including inside police cars. The plan is to staff the platform with citizens' police academy graduates, so this doesn't pull officers off patrol. The volunteers can then radio for help if they see something suspicious.

Shoppers we spoke with say the presence alone of this unit could deter crime. They say it makes them feel safer.

"I just think the additional security and a policeman on the premises is going to help keep the bad guys away," said shopper Bob Pope.

"I think with all the crime rates going up, I think it's great to have that kind of protection, where you can feel secure shopping," said Cathy Lebreck.

The platform was purchased with $66,000 the city received from red light violations. The platform will not sit in one place. In fact, League City police say they will be moving it throughout the course of a day to adapt to increases in crimes at varying types of businesses.