Electronic eyes coming to Pawleys Island

Car traveling over the causeway bridge onto Pawleys Island. / Lisa Edge

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WPDE) - Another town in our area is adding cameras to help fight crime. Pawleys Island Town Council just approved buying cameras to be placed at the entrances to the town. While crime is low on the island, Police Chief Mike Fanning said installing cameras is about safety and being proactive.

"In the long run it's going to save us a lot of investigative hours and it's going to save homeowners a lot of money and property that might've been stolen," Fanning explained.

The town of Pawleys Island is small and its police force is made up of a handful of officers.

Drivers must travel on the north or south causeway to get on the island. With limited access to the town, the cameras the chief wants installed will likely work well for what he wants to accomplish.

"Say we have a burglary that happens overnight. We can then go back and check all the vehicles that have entered the island during a specific time period. And go check all those registrations and see who entered the island and see who may be responsible for the burglaries or any other type of crime that may happen," said Fanning.

Fanning originally pitched the idea of installing cameras several years ago, "after we had a couple burglaries over the winter the idea began to pick up a little steam so we had positive reaction from the council this year."

Today the cameras will only cost about $35,000, a fraction of what they would have spent a few years ago.

Mayor Bill Otis is also on board. He said the move will "help property owners, visitors, and citizens."

Fanning said the cameras can be setup to read a license plate and instantaneously run it through crime databases.

"It can be set for different alerts, stolen vehicles, wanted persons, that type of thing," he added.

Chief Fanning added the cameras would have been useful while investigating a recent reported robbery and assault. He hopes to have them installed by the end of the summer.