By Megan Pounder 
BELLEVILLE – The roads aren’t the only thing being upgraded in downtown Belleville this year.
The security cameras – installed in 2011  to enhance public safety as a joint project of the Belleville police, the city, and the downtown businesses – are being replaced with newer technology.
Coun. Mitch Panciuk said these cameras need an upgrade because they are becoming old and obsolete.
Constable Mark Hall said the $50,000 improvement isn’t coming from the city’s budget, but from a fund set up by the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area .
“They set aside funds on an annual basis,” Hall explained. “It’s a contingency fund – so that as upgrades are required, or servicing as issues come up, the funds (are) already set aside in an account to deal with that.”
BDIA Chair and owner of Barratt’s Office Pro , Dwane Barratt, said he thinks the current cameras have been “somewhat helpful,” but he doesn’t think they’re good enough.
“Unfortunately, the way they were set up, they would catch people doing stuff, but they weren’t good enough,” he explained. “They would pan away before they would get a facial view.”
The overall crime rate in Belleville dropped 29 percent over four years, according to its 2015 annual report. The police received a total of 4,995 calls, down from 6,685. There were 171 break-ins, according to the same report.
The cameras are being relocated from the sides of buildings on to lampposts. The upgraded cameras make easier to capture faces, as well as improve the camera angles.
“The cameras are going to be a new 360 degree-style, so we capture 360 degrees at the same time, as opposed to being pointed in different directions,” Hall said. “And the quality of the video is five times what it was six years ago when the cameras were first installed.”
“The equipment is moving off buildings onto city infrastructure where the power is more reliable, and the on-sight for networking is stronger,” he continued.
Hall said the upgrades are expected sometime within the next 45 days.