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Bibb County starts installation of new downtown security camera system

Commissioners approved the system in February. It comes with a 10-year warranty.

MACON, Ga. — There's a new layer of security coming to downtown Macon. It's one county leaders hope keeps crowds safe during big events: A surveillance camera system.

Mayor Lester Miller says he expects the system to be online soon, after starting installation this week.

"I think since Cherry Blossom, we've had four to six shootings, just on this block alone," said Brandon Lawler, who owns JBA in downtown Macon.

Lawler is talking about Cherry Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. His bar is known for its drinks, music and personality.

"The people that you meet are awesome. You meet a bunch of people. And that is probably the best part of the job," Lawler said.

They're new to Cherry Street. They just moved in from Poplar.

"About three years over on the corner over there, and we've been here about a month and a half," Lawler said.

Right across the street from the old JBA is the first of many Verkada security cameras.

"They're about 10 into it. You can look for those to drop every week. The technology company is working feverishly to get those online. The equipment's been ordered. So those will come online as early as the next week," said Miller.

There will be more than 30 throughout downtown Macon in a grid system. Another 20 will go in Carolyn Crayton Park. A group of eight will round out the network, along River Walk.

Lawler says it's a good move. He hopes it leads to more proactive safety measures.

"They can capture and say, 'Hey, there's someone who is wanted at Poplar and MLK, or Cherry and MLK.' Then, maybe we can get some response. Some proactive response," he said.

The Verkada system cost the county $700,000. They're using money from school zone camera speeding tickets to pay for the cameras. They come with a 10-year warranty and 10-year software license. According to Verkada's February presentation, if a camera stops working, they will send Macon-Bibb County a replacement within a day.

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