TICONDEROGA-The Ticonderoga has a new weapon to fight crime.
The Ticonderoga has agreed to purchase a $17,774 closed-circuit TV system to monitor Montcalm Street and Bicentennial Park in an effort to curb vandalism and crime.
Steve Whitford, chairman of the town emergency services committee, said there will be two cameras that continuously rotate 360 degrees filming activity in the area. The cameras will be monitored by the Ticonderoga Police Department.
"The cameras give a clear picture of everything with 250 feet in every direction," Whitford said. "We'll be able to identify people and cars."
One camera will be placed on the Heritage Museum building at the entrance to Bicentennial Park. The camera will be able to pan the entire park and will be able to distinguish faces beyond the park gazebo. Another camera will be placed on Montcalm Street.
The cameras will be permanently mounted high on buildings or hidden, so they can't be vandalized.
TV screens at Ticonderoga police headquarters will show downtown streets and the park, recording everything that happens there.
During the day, the clerk at the police station will monitor the system, and police can get a playback at any time of the areas covered by the cameras.
Whitford said vandalism in Bicentennial Park and the downtown area has long been a problem, noting vandals cause about $100,000 damage in the area annually.
"This is a small price to pay to stop it," Whitford said.
Supervisor Deb Malaney agreed, noting vandalism in the downtown area is already increasing as warmer weather arrives.
"There is a lot of support from the community," Whitford said of the camera project. "Downtown business owners are thrilled.
"Criminal mischief goes on everyday," said Whitford, a retired police officer. "Our guys (police) can be everywhere 24-7. I'm confident this will be a help."
Whitford said the security system will be state-of-the-art and will be expandable so it can grow to meet future needs. He also stressed it will be high resolution and capable to identifying criminals.
The town set aside $9,700 in its budget for the camera system. The Essex County District Attorney's office has given Ti $3,500 and a downtown merchant has donated $1,500.The remaining money will come from the towns economic development budget since the system is primarily to protect the business district.
The project received unanimous support from the town board.
Ticonderoga officials have discussed a surveillance system for Bicentennial Park and Montcalm Street for several years.
As vandalism and other problems mounted, Ti police started foot and bicycle patrols in an effort to prevent the sabotage and catch the criminals. Those efforts have had limited success.