ATLANTIC CITY — Resort police moved their mobile observation tower to Renaissance Plaza on Tuesday, an eye-in-the-sky presence officials hope will increase public safety in the area.
SkyWatch, a 28-foot-tall tower complete with seven cameras connected to the department’s surveillance center, was placed in the shopping center at Kentucky and Atlantic avenues as part of a public safety upgrade, according to a news release from 3rd Ward Councilman Kaleem Shabazz.
“The surveillance cameras will serve to significantly improve the ability of the police to monitor activity in and around the area of Renaissance Plaza,” Shabazz said.
So far this year, the area around Renaissance Plaza — which includes a CVS drugstore, a Little Caesars pizza and the Sav-A-Lot discount grocery store — has seen several incidents, including fraud, assault, and drug and alcohol violations, according to crimemapping.com, a website that allows the public to view data on reported crimes in the city.
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SkyWatch, which can also be used for crowd control and other surveillance, debuted at the Sam Hunt beach concert July 1. It cost the department $235,000 but was paid for through an FBI grant.
In addition to the installation of SkyWatch, City Council unanimously passed a resolution in September to urge the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, or CRDA, to help improve the area around the plaza and increase exterior lighting, according to the release.
“My desire is to turn around the Renaissance Plaza area as we did Brown’s Memorial Park,” Shabazz said. “The CRDA will be our partners in this initiative.”
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The resolution specifically called on the CRDA to install a video surveillance system that could be accessed by police, increase exterior lighting and add license plate readers at all entry and exit points of the shopping center, according to previous reports.
“We must continue to work together to make the city safer, cleaner and more attractive for residents and visitors,” Shabazz said. “The installation of the SkyWatch mobile tower is an important first step to improve and enhance public safety in this part of town.”
Staff Writer David Danzis contributed to this report.