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MILWAUKEE -- A new city ordinance is helping to tighten security at local convenience stores. Under the new legislation, c-stores will now be required to have at least two high-definition surveillance cameras.
Previously, convenience stores within the city limits were only required to install one camera. The new ordinance was approved by the Common Council earlier this month and signed into law by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett last week, according to MilwaukeeNewsBuzz.com.
Specifically, the new legislation details that one camera must be pointed at the entrance to film customers' faces as they enter and exit the store. The second must be pointed at the cash register area. In addition, the video must be kept on recordable CDs or DVDs -- specifically, discs that cannot be overwritten -- and not the videotape system still used in some convenience stores, the news outlet reported.
"In some cases where the cameras are older and haven't been updated, the resolution is really not as good as it could be," Alderman Michael Murphy said during a meeting of the council's Public Safety Committee last month. Murphy sponsored the legislation.
The new law also calls for convenience stores to keep the discs for at least 30 days, down from the 72 hours on the books previously. Murphy added that the intent of the new rules is to catch suspects in robberies or other violent crimes and not shoplifters, the news site said.
Murphy also acknowledged that the legislation will require some stores to buy new cameras, either to replace old ones or add another. "Digital cameras now are substantially cheaper than they've been," he said. "It's the cost of doing business … More eyes on the scene of where customers are doing business and on the employees provide greater safety and security."