Town of Onancock Considers Surveillance Cameras After String of Burglaries

 DENTON, Md.- For the past 15 years, a few neighborhoods in the Caroline county town of Denton have been under surveillance.  Not by cops on patrol, but by cameras mounted on telephone poles.  Neighbors in that community say it's time for those cameras to go.

Denton police say these cameras were installed as part of a state grant at the turn of the century to decrease crime in several hot spots.  While they say the cameras have definitely reduced the amount of crime in those areas, people living there say they are tired of living under surveillance.

They are on several poles up and down high street in Denton.  Some cameras are fixed.  Some can pan and zoom.  Deputy police chief  George Bacorn says over the years, these cameras have not only helped them solve crimes, but also stop them from occurring in the first place.

"There was a time in the history of Denton where certain areas were known as open air drug markets, and that is certainly no longer the case," said Bacorn.

An apartment complex on High street took over use and maintenance of some of the cameras, but the police can still tune in if they have to.  Despite the fact the cameras are not monitored 24/7, locals say they are tired of constantly being on camera.

"Denton is where it was at.  Mow that we've got these, I feel like I'm in jail.  The only thing I don't have is shackles and handcuffs," said Jakeem Meekins.

Meekins says another problem he has with the cameras is that they are only in a few select neighborhoods.

"If this whole city of Denton is not under surveillance, then Denton should not be under surveillance," said Meekins.

"You're taking the privacy of my livelihood.  You have it on camera.  You're watching me, so it means I have no privacy," said Melissa Downes.

Denton police tell us though that the cameras are only aimed at the streets, not towards private property.

Lieutenant Bacorn says since the cameras were paid for with a grant, they could only go in trouble spots.  He says based off of how useful they have been, they would like to see them put up across town, but the funding simply isn't there.

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