Surveillance tower will give Myrtle Beach police an eye in the sky

A Skywatch tower

Myrtle Beach police will soon be watching you from above during major events in the city.

They'll soon have a new surveillance tool to help officers monitor crowds.

It's called Skywatch.

"It's kind of a mobile tower that you can elevate that gives police kind of a bird's eye view over an event. It has cameras on board, so the idea is to see and to be seen," said spokesman Mark Kruea.

Since the violence that left three people dead during this year's Memorial Day weekend Bikefest, city officials have been looking for ways to beef-up security during that event.

But Kruea said that's not what led the city to get the surveillance tower.

"We thought it would be a good thing to have just for the regular special events that we do. We may certainly find a use for it during the events in May, but that's not why we're purchasing it," said Kruea.

The tower can extend to a height of 25 feet.

Not only will it allow police to have a wide ranging view over a crowd, it will also be a very visible way to let people in the crowd know police are observing them.

"Sometimes the idea that people are watching you will put a damper on certain types of behavior and activity and this would certainly be a visible police presence at special events."

Kruea said the tower will cost the city $148,000 and should be in Myrtle Beach in time for use during some of this fall's major events.

According to the company's web site, major police departments around the country have Skywatch towers, including New York City and Washington, DC.