City, carryout owners dispute camera costWritten by John Krudy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Convenience store owners affected by Toledo Municipal Ordinance 721 said one of the most difficult requirements of the law is that proprietors install a camera system police can use to identify suspects. Midwest Retailers Association Counsel Scott Ciolek said the city is unreasonably requiring cameras of “CSI quality.”
Rob Ludeman, who first drafted the ordinance, has said the camera requirement is modeled on Minneapolis law (Ordinance Amendment 259.230), which went into effect in 2006. Grant Wilson, manager of licenses and consumer services for Minneapolis, told Toledo Assistant Clerk of Council Julie Gibbons on Oct. 30, 2007 that a low-end camera would cost $600, but a digital system could cost $10,000. (Ciolek said Toledo city lawyers told him the cameras would only cost $600.)
Wilson said most carryout owners in Minneapolis ended up paying between $1,500 and $2,000 for a system.
“The cameras have helped in several [burglary] cases,” Wilson said. “Sometimes store owners have had trouble working with the hardware and software, but the camera companies can explain how they work.”
Wilson said the requirement that store owners keep tapes for police use “hasn’t been a problem.”
Toledo convenience store owner Dan Ridi said he expected a camera system would cost between $2,600 and $4,000.
Kim Klewer, president of the Toledo security firm Asset Protection Corporation (APC), estimated that the camera system Toledo requires will cost $3,000 to $4,000. For an analog system, he said, owners would have to change tapes every six hours.
“The camera themselves are very inexpensive,” Klewer said. “And owners could do it themselves pretty easy. But adding a DVR digital recorder is where it gets expensive.”
Klewer said Ordinance 721 does not mandate the security of the recorder; burglars could rob the store, then swipe the recorder and tapes.
“Thieves have been doing that ever since cameras first got popular,” he said.
Klewer said the law could endanger carryout employees, since it requires an alarm or signal to show when the camera system is activated.
“Most holdup alarms are silent, so there’s no added danger,” Klewer said. “If not, you’re going to anger the thief and he’s going to do something he wasn’t planning to do.”