Clinton Square is home to events like the Taste of Syracuse and the Irish and Polish Festivals. While officials say it's been a safe venue through the years, YNN's Sarah Blazonis tells us that police will soon have an extra tool at their fingertips to help keep it that way.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Clinton Square may be known for the festivals that draw thousands, but it's the everyday calm that brings in regular visitors.
"I come to draw and relax," said Christopher Younis of Syracuse. "I like the water and I like the birds."
"I just come here and sit and listen to music," said another Syracuse resident Shannon Kinzie. "It's nice, it's quiet."
But there are other types of gatherings that happen as well.
"It's a public space. It's a place where we, the citizens, can go to talk about our issues. In the past, there probably have been some fugitives or some people who could be on the other side of the law," said Common Councilor Jake Barrett, chair of the public safety committee.
Monday, the Common Council voted to authorize the police department to buy security cameras for the square. The pan-tilt-zoom cameras will store video for about two weeks and police officials can view footage if they have reason to look into suspicious activity.
"I think it's a good idea just in case somebody did get into trouble. The cameras are there and they could play back what happened," said Younis.
"I understand their reasoning behind it, I just don't think it's something we need. It kind of reminds me of a future police state-type thing," said Derek Spagnola, who stopped in the square Monday afternoon.
But while not everyone's in favor of the cameras, officials say they're going to serve a very specific purpose.
"If a riot breaks out or something like that, where did it start, how did it happen? It's not indiscriminate viewing of the public," said Barrett.
Councilor Barrett says police will be limited as far as when and why they can view the video. Residents say the step will give them peace of mind.
"I think it's a great idea because there is an issue with homelessness around here and stealing and things like that," said Kinzie.
Barrett says police on the street will still be more effective at preventing crime, while the cameras can provide evidence that help with prosecution.
Up to $50,000 of a federal grant program will be used to help pay for the cameras and installation. There is no word from police on when they'll be installed.