A new ordinance in Madison, Mississippi, requires external security cameras on the buildings of all retail locations; businesses were given until March 2018 to comply with the ordinance.
According to the Mississippi Business Journal, the idea for the ordinance came after the police department discovered that many businesses had no external cameras in the entryway or around parking areas, and that businesses with cameras often didn’t know how to work the system or had non-functioning cameras.
Police Chief Gene Waldrop said: “This is a two-way street. The police are out there pursuing the criminals, and it affects the business.”
He noted that the cameras both help businesses and can capture images of crimes in progress at a neighbor’s store.
The ordinance requires security cameras to monitor parking lots and entry and exit of doors. It applies to retail business centers that have 25 or more parking space and/or a 2,000 square-foot building. The camera must operate from two hours before the opening of the first business in the retail business center, during business hours, and two hours after closing. Signage is required, informing the public that the area is under surveillance, the Mississippi Business Journal reports.
Since the ordinance went into effect, there has been one issue of non-compliance, when a perpetrator’s vehicle entered precisely where a camera would have caught an image. Waldrop notes that the ordinance allows for an exemption when cameras stop working due to weather conditions or other unavoidable factors, as long as the camera is back in operation as soon as reasonably possible.
The ordinance cites a Department of Justice study called Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which shows that security cameras help reduce fear among customers, and that cameras work as a deterrent to crimes that take longer amounts of time.