There are measures keeping people safe in downtown Fort Myers, but one of the big changes begins Friday.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s mobile surveillance center is in place to pinpoint trouble and crime happening in the area.
Thursday night at Celsius nightclub on Main Street, Fort Myers police officers chased down Kendrick Hubbell. That’s because Hubbell pulled out a firearm during an argument, and police were on top of it within minutes.
The city hopes the mobile surveillance unit will help officers react that quickly all the time.
Misael Marrero lives in downtown Fort Myers and said sometimes the area can get scary.
“I’ve heard more about break-ins and fights, things like that,” Marrero said. “You always see that when you walk around at night.”
Scary scenes like Sunday morning’s shooting, although Fort Myers police did arrest the accused shooter, 29-year-old Jasmine Battle.
“It deters criminals and criminal activity when there is police presence, you know, when there isn’t, then people are more likely to do a crime of opportunity or things like that,” Marrero said.
The violence Sunday pushed the city to ask the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to add the mobile surveillance unit, keeping more eyes on the downtown scene.
One big improvement the surveillance unit will make is deputies can now watch and then respond to crimes in progress. And Marty Lawing, the city manager, is hopeful those little cameras will make a big difference.
James Roark and Kevin Chase, are Fort Myers residents and were both downtown at night when the surveillance tech was put into action.
“It’s going to cut down on crime, you know, like, nobody is going to go and commit a crime, if they know that they’re being recorded,” Roark said.
“I think it’s good. I don’t think you can have enough safety,” Chase said. “I mean, it’s I don’t think it’s intrusive. You know, it gives them a chance to have a little more technology involved to their, to their work. And that helps them catch people.”
“The more eyes you have on activity going on. Sometimes during the night, there’s a lot of people on the streets. And even though you have quite a few officers on the street, cameras don’t hurt anything,” Lawing said. “So, fortunately, the cameras, you can monitor those and maybe prevent some bad choices from being made. But they can also be used after the fact to see if there was any illegal activity that occurred.”
“Anything that the city does to make us feel safer. I’m all for it,” Marrero said.
WINK News asked Lawing if he believes the surveillance unit will be enough. In response, he said they may need stricter measures and they’re looking into them, but first want to make sure it won’t put a hardship on people or businesses.