Jackson Chamber of Commerce not opposed to surveillance cameras ordinance

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JACKSON, MI (WILX) -- How far can the government go to stop the violence? It's a question being asked in Jackson -- where the mayor is trying to do something about a growing number of shootings.

Part of the plan Mayor Derek Dobies revealed to News 10 Wednesday -would require some businesses to install surveillance cameras outside their buildings.

The ordinance would force businesses to share the footage with police. The Jackson Chamber of Commerce so far isn't opposed to it, but there still is one lingering concern.

The ordinance requires commercial, mixed-use and residential buildings of six or more units to have exterior cameras at the entrance and exit filming 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mindy Bradish-Orta, the president of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce said that they're always leery when government wants more regulation and legislation.

"It can make it difficult for businesses to be successful, however in this case, I think the city is taking an approach of futuristics, so they're considering that the current businesses don't have to comply, it's new businesses that come into operation in 2020," she said.

Only buildings that obtain a certificate of occupancy after April 1, 2020 would have to comply with the new ordinance.

Ann Mason who visits downtown said that more security cameras would create a better feeling of safety in downtown. "If it wasn't required then some of the businesses would not want to go to that expense. Now, I don't know about what expense that would be, but as a client and customer, I would think in the long run it would pay off for old businesses, new businesses," she said.

The businesses would have to pay for and maintain the cameras.

While it could be a deterrent for businesses to open at an additional expense, the chamber said that in the long run it makes sense for businesses and the community to partner up. But there's still one big question they want answered.

"Who has access to this footage? And when does that footage have to be given over to police or the government. I would think businesses would want some say in how this footage is used and when it is made public."

News 10 is waiting for a response from Dobies about this question.

Property owners would be required to retain footage from the security cameras for 120 days.

The ordinance will be introduced at next Tuesday's city council meeting.

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