After nearly two years, the hope is that more cameras will be in place soon around Bashaw.
That idea was one of the few suggestions to come from a meeting of the Bashaw and District Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 17 held at the Bashaw Valley Lodge regarding the organization’s security camera project. The meeting was about looking at making improvements to the system, getting more participation and what changes could further help in preventing, deterring and perhaps catching those committing crimes.
“Currently, there are eight spaces available on the system and we are still committed to the original plan of providing storage space for one camera to Chamber members — as part of their membership — while utilizing one recorder,” explained Dustin Hemingson, Chamber president.
“The meeting was to help brainstorm about how best to and where to expand the system.
“The thought is that the system is still about prevention of crime and providing businesses with the ability to help themselves. Once the businesses know how relatively inexpensive it is to be part of the system and how easy it is to use, we can grow the system and that’s our goal.”
Hemingson added that the system has already helped police investigate and solve some crimes in Bashaw, while also giving the businesses with cameras some piece of mind.
While those members benefit with a single camera, there is nothing stopping a business from adding to their security arsenal.
“Initially, it was decided one camera per business on the system in order to leave space available for more businesses,” he stated.
“Although now, if a business wanted to add another camera, they could pay for it and the only added cost would be for the extra storage.”
Also at the meeting was Levi Wynnyk of Total Control Security, who sells and services the system, and Bashaw RCMP Sgt. Bruce Holliday.
Wynnyk stated that technology has changed significantly, even since the system was initially installed, with additional storage being easy to install and less expensive while high end cameras are coming down as well.
New 4K high-definition cameras can run about $800 with ones similar to the present cameras — which have night vision and infrared capabilities — running about half that price.
“The support to expand is there as the existing wireless antennas can handle extra cameras,” he said. “Though with several cameras, I would recommend they buy a recorder and leave one camera on the Chamber system.”
The advantage to that, Wynnyk explained, is police would not have a delay in getting access to the footage from the Chamber system.
Additionally, businesses can include sensors or light beams as part of a perimeter protection plan in conjunction to the cameras.
“In the past year, that work has become more prevalent with alarms, lights and sirens that go off when someone enters. So many times, the people look up and then run off,” he said.
“We are steering customers more toward this — scaring off potential intruders — as it is not worth confronting anyone in this situation.
“Most criminals don’t seem to care now and if they want to take something, they will, and cameras are one of the few things available that will help police catch them while keeping you safe.”
Sgt. Holliday reiterated that thought and also stated that, while petty property crime does occur in Bashaw, rural central Alberta is being targeted by theives looking for firearms, vehicles and other items that are easy to steal then sell or use in committing other crimes.
He also feels that Bashaw is leading the way — along with communities such as Mundare and Blackfalds — by establishing the security camera system.
“When I came here and saw what was being done, it shows the community is forward thinking,” he said.
One addition he would like to see is signs at each entrance to Bashaw explaining the community is monitored by closed circuit cameras, in part to help deter criminals.
The sign idea was supported by the Chamber members at the meeting as well as the thought of investigating whether it is feasible to have cameras installed to monitor those entrances.