Two surveillance cameras are perched on the top of the Darlington County Courthouse, tracking what's going on downtown.
"It'll go back down this direction to where the bank parking lot is. It'll come back down this intersection here and it will also will go straight down this street," said Darlington Police Chief Danny Watson.
And that's just what those two can see. There is a third atop the Darlington County Voter Registration building, a fourth at the Darlington Police Department and a fifth camera is being installed at a warehouse on West Broad Street.
Chief Watson says the cameras can tilt, pan and zoom to 27 times magnification. He says they produce quality pictures and work well
even at night.
"Putting these cameras downtown and in the surrounding areas is basically for the purposes of giving people peace of mind
Mayor Tony Watkins
can monitor the cameras from his computer.
He believes they will make some would-be criminals think twice.
"It is a deterrent to crime. If you know that there is a possibility that you will be seen by a surveillance camera it's much less likely that you're going to commit a crime," said Mayor Watkins.
Some residents, like Cassandra Spruill, argue
the cameras are a form of Big Brother.
"In a way it is invading our privacy because you don't know what are they actually watching for," said Spruill.
Police say they're only watching for traffic and potential crimes.
Chief Watson said, "You're on video thousands of times everyday, whether you realize it or not
time you walk past an
ATM, every time you walk into a convenience store."
"As we walk about town you're seen in public, so there's not intrusion of your privacy, " said Mayor Watkins.
Police hope to have 145 more cameras in the city before it's all said and done.
The five cameras cost about
$19,000 and the video is archived for 30 days.