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Most new downtown CCTV cameras are up, but not yet functioning

Locations may be changed, say police – final locations will be made public
This CCTV camera can be found on a light pole in St. George's Square.

People downtown may have noticed new cameras set up to keep a watchful eye on public spaces. Fifteen have been installed, with four more to come, though none are fully functioning just yet.

Because of supply shortages, technical issues and staff training requirements, that could still take a few weeks, noted Daryl Goetz, deputy police chief. The plan had been to get them up and running by the end of March.

“Where we want the cameras may not be exactly where we can get the cameras,” Goetz said, explaining devices could be moved from where they’ve been placed at this time once connectivity issues are worked out. “We’re trying to cover a good portion of the downtown.”

Once final locations are set, their spots will be publicly announced, in addition to signs installed letting people in the area know they’re being recorded.

All of the cameras are being installed downtown, on public assets such as street light poles.

“We get a high volume of calls downtown,” Goetz noted. “That’s why we chose the downtown core area.”

The initiative – a collaboration between city officials and local law enforcement – isn’t meant to be monitored 24/7, but rather provide a way for police to take a look at what’s happening when calls come in, as well as for major incidents.

Once the program is fully functioning, camera footage feeds are to be transmitted to police headquarters on Wyndham Street South, on the edge of downtown.

“It’s not like we’re going to have an officer sitting there, waiting for an incident to happen downtown,” Goetz said. 

Guelph Police Services Board approved the CCTV camera program last fall, with a budget of $495,000, reallocating otherwise unused money from within the 2023 budget – largely from provincial grants. 

That’s for the equipment itself. General city workers are handling the installation piece, with IT staff working out the technical details.

Ten cameras were installed in March, with five more put up throughout April, explained Doug Godfrey, the city’s general manager of operations. Two more are expected to be installed this week, with the final two to follow. 

“It’s a pilot program and we’re really looking forward to it,” added Goetz. “I think it will be successful.”

Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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