Identifying suspects who commit crimes on Cape May County’s boardwalks this summer will be easier after dozens of public security cameras recently were installed in Ocean City and Wildwood.

Federal grant money supplied through the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness funded the cameras, which will be used by both the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and local police. North Wildwood and Sea Isle City already have used such cameras. Avalon and Cape May plan to install their own in the future.

“The bottom line is that society is changing, and we must change as society does,” Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said.

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Pointing to the importance of surveillance cameras in solving the Boston Marathon bombings, Prosecutor Robert Taylor said in a statement that the Internet-based systems would integrate with cameras used by businesses to better prevent, deter and respond to crimes.

The cameras in Wildwood are between the Convention Center and the border with North Wildwood. Ocean City’s cameras cover the heart of the Boardwalk, from Sixth to 14th streets.

“They definitely would have been useful to us in the past,” Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo said.

The Prosecutor’s Office also said the systems provide automated event detection and intelligent video delivery by being integrated with security systems and using other advanced technology.

In the past, the Prosecutor’s Office has reached out to businesses to use footage from their cameras to help solve crimes. Places such as Atlantic City have had hundreds of public surveillance cameras for years, but such cameras were not prevalent in Cape May County’s shore towns.

Troiano said the installation of the cameras should not create the impression that crime is in any way out of control on the county’s boardwalks. He said they are simply another way for police to be more effective when there are incidents.

“We would hope the cameras would be a deterrent,” he said. “If something does happen, at least we have the tool to bring that person to justice.”

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More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.

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