As crime rates continue to rise at alarming rates, many wonder what will be done to protect them. Residents, business owners, city officials, and more have all questioned how public safety can be more effective within the city limits. They have noted being understaffed and not in the loop of everything going on and are looking for ways to bolster these areas of concern.

One way we have seen everyone feel and become a little safer is with security cameras. Of course, there are CCTV cameras in the appropriate places, but the invention and increased popularity of Ring Cameras and other security setups used in homes and businesses have made this a little bit easier. Most have equipped some sort of security tactics in their space and have access to view and save the footage. Downtown Kalamazoo is taking this idea to the next level.

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The Kalamazoo City Commission approved a $375,000 Surveillance Camera Network Program to be implemented in Downtown Kalamazoo. After getting support from many Kalamazoo Mall business owners, everyday citizens, and many others the Fusus Camera network will be installed throughout the Downtown District.

Now business owners will be able to volunteer their services but aren't bound to this contract. There are also levels to access as the police will not be able to live stream the cameras and business owners will have the option to decide when they want to share footage such as only after hitting a panic button or with their expressed permission.

This does include apartments and homeowners who have ring cameras, they are allowed to decide if they would like to submit their footage for public safety officers to use if it may be useful but are not bound to any contract. It will make the process easier as there will be a streamlined way of doing things but this is an optional choice for residents.

There have been complaints from residents stating that they don't want to concede their safety for liberty and that they should feel comfortable out in public, not like they are being watched or observed at all times. The pilot program has helped them solve the mystery of one man's death after watching him fall and hit his head and they were able to apprehend a suspect who was walking around with a gun.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this system just like anything else in the world. What are your opinions on the matter? Would you opt in or would you choose to stay on the outside looking in?

Downtown Kalamazoo Districts

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Below are photographs of stores that once bustled with shoppers, only a couple of the businesses still remain in their original locations. A few quotes, from the Facebook group, Vanished Kalamazoo, are mixed among the memories.

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