The Crozet Community Association quizzed Albemarle County Police officer Andy Gluba, a community resource officer, about the utility of camera surveillance of downtown streets at its January 8 meeting at The Field School.
Gluba discouraged the CCA audience from aiming for a publicly installed system. Some privately installed cameras already cover some sections of Crozet Avenue and The Square.
“Experience shows that cameras are not a deterrent to crime,” said Gluba, who noted that all ACPD patrol cars are equipped with cameras and that there is a move afoot to have officers themselves wear cameras while on duty.
“Over 1,000 cameras are on Charlottesville’s downtown Mall,” he said. “The average big city resident is on camera 75 times a day and the average college student is probably on camera 50 times a day. A $500 system is now capable of reading a car license plate at 100 feet,” he said.
“Police support cameras because they can provide clues and evidence for court.” He noted that cameras did identify the kids egging a house in Old Trail, which put an end to it once they were confronted.
“You’re better off pushing for homeowners and businesses to install cameras for their own reasons,” he advised.
He said more downtown lighting would be a better deterrent to crime.
ACPD Captain Greg Jenkins, who commands the Blue Ridge District, told the CCA that police arrested three men in a spate of shed break-ins that occurred in various parts of the county, including several in Crozet. Jenkins said police suspect there is another ring of thieves still operating in the Batesville/Crozet area.
Jenkins also reported that two Crozet juveniles were identified in the vandalism of trucks owned by Allied Portable Toilets that were parked at the lumberyard when they had their windshields smashed out.
In the CCA’s Crozet history moment, local historian Phil James displayed a photo of Three Notch’d Road that shows Sandridge’s Esso, which sat roughly where the ramp to Crozet Great Valu is now, and includes a glimpse of the former freight depot in the distance. The station was built in 1923 and torn down in 1965. It was the first in town to offer separate restrooms for men and women, James noted.
The CCA meets again March 12 at 7:30. To get its local news, notifications and upcoming agendas online, go to crozetcommunity.org.