SKOWHEGAN — Smile.

If you are anywhere in downtown Skowhegan in the coming weeks, you’ll be on camera — with images feeding directly to the Police Department.

Some 14 security cameras will be installed throughout the downtown beginning today at the town’s Renaissance Building on Water Street. The security measure follows a spree of burglaries this year.

Two cameras will be installed at the Renaissance Building, where thieves in July cut through three doors, a padlocked gate and a sheetrock wall and made off with merchandise from a rafting supply store.

Two more cameras will be mounted on the Aubuchon hardware store, scanning Commercial Street and the municipal parking lot, according to Jeff Hewitt, Skowhegan’s director of economic and community development. Two more cameras will be installed on the Chamber of Commerce building, which also is in the municipal lot.

Additional cameras will be set up at the martial arts studio, the Community Driving School near the bridge, which will shoot up Madison Avenue and down Water Street. Others will be mounted on the front of Lynette’s shop on Water Street, at The Bankery, the Old Mill Pub and at the finance offices of Skowhegan Savings at the corner of Elm Street and Madison Avenue, Hewett said.

Tim McDonald of Computer Improvements on Water Street is handling the project.

“If nothing goes wrong, he’s hoping to have them up and going this weekend,” Hewett said.

Hewett said the cameras can be moved from their initial locations if better sites are identified.

Hewett said the entire project, including a wireless feeder system and monitor at the police station, will cost about $19,000. The Board of Selectmen in August unanimously approved the project. The money will come from revenue generated through the downtown tax increment financing district, or TIF.

The decision by selectmen came after burglaries in the heart of downtown. Skowhegan Fleuriste and Karen’s Closet were broken into last year and the former Blueberry Cupboard, Aubuchon Hardware and the rafting and kayak supply company were the target of burglars. Burglars also tried to get inside the Dill Center, near the Town Office, this summer.

The cameras will produce a live feed to a monitor in the police station and will be recorded for possible use later, Hewett said. The cameras are made by GeoVision Inc., a global company specializing in digital surveillance systems.

He said the live feed also could serve a second purpose — streaming footage on the Internet of parades, special events and downtown festivities as they happen.

Hewett said the surveillance feeds will not be broadcast for public viewing.

He said the cameras will not be used to read or record motor vehicle license plates for alleged traffic violations. Police Chief Michael Emmons said authorities can use recorded video to identify a vehicle, a license plate number or a person suspected in a crime.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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