St. Charles business owners on Main Street are being encouraged to invest in security cameras as part of a larger effort to address crime in downtown St. Charles.
The recommendation is one of several made by Mayor Sally Faith and a security taskforce to a group of business owners who attended a quarterly meeting with the Mayor on Thursday.
"They're a deterrant," she said about the security camers. "It's also an after the fact, trying to take care of finding people who have done things they shouldn't have done."
The security cameras, which cost about $1,000 each, would be purchased by individual store owners and residents on Main Street. The camera feeds would not tie into the police department's system, but the footage could be used by police later.
Faith said the city will offer 10 $500 grants toward the purchase of the cameras.
Leonard Hyman, who owns Centuries Past Antiques, said he has purchased several security cameras for his shop in the last six months and has found he's had less shoplifting.
In addition, the St. Charles Police Department will put in a police substation at the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau. The police will also put a bike rack at the bureau and have more police officers trained in doing bike patrols.
"I think it's a win for us and a win for the businesses on Main Street," said Interim Police Chief Larry Stulce. "It's something we see a need for that could possible enhance what we already do."
Charlotte Worthington, who owns property on South Main Street, said bike patrols would be most helpful after 11 p.m. "The thing that costs us money is damage to our property," she said.
Gary Haddox, who owns the Conservatory, said he's glad for any kind of additional police presence on South Main Street.
"Late at night (police) are so busy on North Main Street," he said. "We used to see the mounted police all the time, but they have to spend the majority of their time up there."
Reporting City Issues
Matthew Seeds, Interim Director of IT, said the city has been working on a way for residents to easily notify the city about issues like potholes, street signs down and graffiti.
Seeds said he is investigating applications like See Click Fix, a website that allows residents to report problems directly to the city. He said they are looking for an application that will funnel the citizen requests to the right department. He expects to have a recommendation this fall.
"We're looking to create a clean and easy system," Seeds said.