New Rules for Stores Selling Liquor

August 18, 2008 7:35:01 PM PDT
On Tuesday, Fresno City Council Members will take their first vote on a new ordinance requiring all stores selling beer, wine and liquor to install video cameras. Fresno police say video surveillance in those stores will make all business owners and customers safer. Many business owners including Harry Gill feel the cameras city wide will in fact deter crime. Gill feels safe and secure. His convenience store is surrounded by eight cameras both inside and outside-recording everyone's move. Gill said, "You never know what kind of person is going to come in. What they have whether they have a gun in their hand or a knife in their hand." Gill supports the police department's efforts to mandate a surveillance system for all stores selling beer, wine and liquor.

The ordinance is very specific about the quality of camera. The surveillance system must be high tech enough that police can determine someone's height and clothing.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "The better the resolution- the more likely we are to achieve a successful prosecution on a suspect." Dyer said store owners will have up to 24-months to install the required system. Cameras rolled recently as two men stole thousands of dollars from a USA Liquor Store on North Shields. Dyer said in the future all the new surveillance capabilities could be tied to the city's entire video policing system as long as business owner cooperate, "We could but we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves in terms of video policing. Bit if we did do that, it would be at their request."

So far no organized group is opposing the new ordinance. On Tuesday, city council members will have their first chance to discuss the proposed rules. Councilmember Blong Xiong has some questions regarding the department's enforcement. Fresno Chamber of Commerce supports the proposal.

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