FM steps up downtown security after ZombiCon shooting

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Cellphone video and footage from downtown Fort Myers businesses has been critical to investigators still searching for the ZombiCon shooter.

More than six weeks after the shooting, police and Fort Myers city leaders are focused on security. The project to install surveillance cameras downtown and other troubled areas around the city won’t come cheap. The city needs to come up with $30,000 to get it done.

People downtown Tuesday night say it’s money well spent.

“You can’t compare $300,000 to one person’s life anyways, so it’s really a small price to pay,” said Gordon Smith.

“They should have done it a year ago before this but unfortunately it took Zombicon to make people aware of the situation,” says Danielle Martin. “So it’s good now.”

Fort Myers City Council asked the community redevelopment agency to pitch in $100,000. The agency slashed parts of their budget and emptied out others,  like money dedicated to bringing tech businesses downtown.

Fort Myers CRA Executive Director, Don Paight says the board believes it’s worth it.

“When we recruit new businesses we have to ensure it’s a safe location for them to come to. It’s one of the things they and their employees look at,” said Paight. “So we felt it was more important at this point to address the security issue and be able to get that fully under control so that as we do go out and recruit the business we can point out the fact that we have the latest technology.”

The board also unanimously approved taking an additional $14,000 from their reserve fund for extra security at large events.

“It’s a great idea,” said Smith. “I think it’s for the safety of all citizens who live here and it would help stop crime and we can still continue to have all the events downtown in a more safe atmosphere.”

The city hopes to have the first phase of cameras installed before the New Year’s Eve event which is expected to draw thousands of people downtown.

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