The City of Vernon and Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) will continue to keep an eye on security in the downtown core.
The DVA entered into a security camera grant agreement with the city in April. That allowed the DVA to pay businesses up to 50 per cent toward the cost of new surveillance cameras or to upgrade an existing system.
At its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 8, council unanimously voted to extend the agreement by one year to the end of 2022.
“It’s great that we are continuing this,” said Coun. Akbal Mund. “Hopefully we can get more businesses in on this. Can’t lose.”
The goals of the agreement were to reduce crime in downtown Vernon, provide increased public safety, assist law enforcement to aid in investigations and prosecutions, and improve the perception of law-abiding citizens, encouraging them to use public spaces.
DVA executive director Susan Lehman said many businesses were able to access the funding, adding an additional 12 security camera locations to the existing 11 that were installed with 2016 funding.
“While the DVA is pleased with the uptake, there are still many businesses that would benefit from the remaining funds which would further increase surveillance in the downtown core,” said Lehman.
Of the original $22,000 grant, there is slightly less than $10,000 remaining, and part of the agreement was the DVA was to return any funds not distributed back to the city. The DVA recommended extending the program to make the remaining funds available.