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Smile, you're on crooked camera!

Sunnysiders look to cameras to catch crooks in the act

A group of Sunnyside business people is so frustrated with crime in the city that they are willing to pay for video cameras to be placed around town.

Members of the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club recently gave approval for its leaders to move forward in discussions with the city about purchasing and installing cameras.

"People are getting tired of the gangs and the crimes and wanted to start doing something about it," said Ted Durfey, the club's president.

He says discussions are still in the early stages. "It's very preliminary. We unanimously agreed it is a good idea but the first step is determine the cost," Durfey said.

Daybreak Rotarians have had some initial talks with Police Chief Ed Radder, who is supporting the club's idea.

"I think it's a very generous offer," Radder says. "It has an incredible amount of merit. We've had luck in the past with using cameras."

Radder says he anticipates meeting with the club in the next week or so. "They're anxious to get moving forward on it," he said. "It will be on a city council agenda in the not too distant future."

He said preliminary talks with Rotary prior to city council consideration will include checking out which kind of camera systems would be the most beneficial.

Radder said discussions also need to be held about what locations would be best for the cameras.

He said examples would be traditional trouble spots in the city for crime, intersections, public buildings and parks.

Radder said the cameras will cut down on crime.

"We're thinking that some crime will not take place because of people realizing they're being watched," he said.

At the same time, he acknowledges that some crime might move to other parts of town that don't have cameras.

"Are we going to displace some of it (crime) to other areas? There's a possibility of that happening," Radder said.

He adds that some of the cameras could be portable and moved to areas where crime sprouts up. Radder says that, in turn, could help move the bad guys out of town all together.

To those concerned about the potential for "big brother" to pry into private lives in public places, Radder said he's seen opinions change.

"Most of those individuals with that attitude change when they're the victim of whatever's being recorded," he said.

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