Danville police chief emphasizes importance of surveillance cameras

Topic was focus of law enforcement conference with area businesses

DANVILLE, Va. – Surveillance video from inside the Speedway Food Mart on North Main Street around 12:45 a.m. Thursday shows what Danville police said is a man robbing the store at gunpoint.

The store's cameras produce colorful and fairly clear video, but Danville Police Chief Col. Philip Broadfoot said the quality of many business surveillance cameras is much poorer.

"We have a name for that poor quality. It's called Bigfoot quality," Broadfoot said.

"There are a lot of old camera systems that are in place at various businesses in town that have not been upgraded to the latest digital, color."

This was one of several topics Broadfoot and other local law enforcement officials talked to businesses about on Wednesday during a conference at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

"What we're also trying to get the various businesses to do is to not only focus their cameras on inside their business, but also outside," Broadfoot said. "A crime may occur across the street, down the block and that camera can be instrumental in identifying whoever committed the crime."

Another topic of discussion was the Danville Police Department's ongoing effort to expand the number of surveillance cameras in the city, primarily outside the immediate downtown area.

There are already around 100 cameras there.

Sam Rippe manages Rippe's Shoes downtown and said he welcomes the expansion.

"We're glad to have the cameras and I think it definitely can't hurt anything to have a little extra security," Rippe said.

As for the camera system in the business?

"We definitely take it very seriously. You have to if you're a small business like us," Rippe said.

Broadfoot said there is no set number of cameras the department wants to have and no timeline for installing them.