American Tobacco Trail gets security camera

Jan. 22, 2013 @ 09:14 PM

The American Tobacco Trail in Durham is getting its first security camera, following months of publicity about robberies and attacks on the trail and an outcry from citizens to make it safer.
The camera is a wireless, state-of-the-art system, according to Beverly Thompson, director of public affairs for the city of Durham. It’s near the trail’s entrance at Blackwell Street at the American Tobacco Campus, owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company.
Capitol is paying for the first camera and at least 14 to 17 more that eventually will be installed along the first four miles of the trail, which runs 6.75 miles through the city. The city is paying installation costs.
The first camera costs about $23,000, including installation and labor associated with ensuring that the signal to a monitoring station works properly. Each new camera is expected to cost about $6,000.
Thompson said Capitol Broadcasting, which has its own security system, will monitor the trail cameras 24 hours a day and record activity there.
“Capitol already has a monitoring system for the American Tobacco Complex, so it’s just piggybacking on that one,” Thompson said.
She said details of the trail’s camera system are still being worked out.
“We want to make sure that this pilot test works, and then that will give us some idea how much more we want to do,” Thompson said.
The first camera has been installed and has power, but it’s not operating yet. Technicians are testing it to be sure the signal “is clear and effectively beamed back to the monitoring station.”
Once operational, the monitoring station will be in direct contact with the Durham Police Department when “incidents happen,” Thompson said.
“This is still continuing to be a joint effort, with trail watch volunteers monitoring the trails, along with the Police Department’s directed patrols and the use of UTVs [all-terrain vehicles].”
The city will pay installation costs from its transportation budget, but exact figures were unavailable Tuesday.