(Memphis) With a high view and a good set of binoculars you can see for days.
That’s what Memphis Police bank on as they patrol the parking lot at Wolfchase Galleria Mall.
“With a pair of binoculars you can look 300 or 400 yards down the other end of the mall. Drop to the parking lot and you can actually see people,” says Memphis Police Officer Manuel Saldana.
But it’s not just any people, particularly those up to no good and possibly casing the parking lot for crime.
The sky towers are equipped with camera views that give officers a direct look at what’s going on on the ground.
“One of the cameras I can move around if we are looking for a specific car or person, somebody possibly breaking in a car and zoom in on them,” says Saldana.
It really comes in handy during the holidays, when criminals are looking for easy prey.
There are 7 of the video sky cams all around the Wolfchase area alone.
Police have been using them for about four years and have seen the effect on crime.
“Wherever we put one of these video platforms, crime dries up, no shoplifting, no car break-ins probably within a quarter to a half mile radius,” says MPD Deputy Chief Jim Harvey.
The sky watch towers are manned during store hours. There are also smaller unmanned towers that constantly have video surveillance going.
“We are able to view the video either from a squad car, I-Pad, the Real Time Crime Center, even from home it we want to,” says Harvey.
So what happens if they spot potential problems?
“If we see something suspicious we will radio to other units on the ground and they go check it out,” says Officer Saldana.
According to police, it’s hard to say just how many crimes these sky towers have prevented.
But one of their big advantages is they serve as a deterrent.
Criminals see them and they are likely to move on, keeping your shopping trip safe.