BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Downtown Development Authority is moving forward with plans to safeguard the Riverwalk through security cameras.
Bradenton Police Department reports indicate Riverwalk crime now consists mainly of suspicious activity and traffic stops.
Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said there has not been a major crime at the $6.2 million Riverwalk since it opened in October 2012 and it's the BPD's goal to keep it that way.
"For us, any little added security is good," said Radzilowski. "Instead of an eye in the sky we'll have an eye on the walk."
He said officers will have an iPad to view different areas.
"They have complete visuals of the Riverwalk," he said. "This is a nice system for our officer; more eyes assisting him."
Radzilowski said other than a few fights and a few minors caught smoking, there has not been any crime going on down there.
"No robberies, rapes or murder has happened. It's relatively crime free," said Radzilowski. "That's the goal in every neighborhood, whether it's Riverwalk or your neighborhood, it's our goal to make the city of Bradenton a better place to live."
The surveillance cameras are all about maintaining resident well-being, said Dave Gustafson, Downtown Development Authority director.
"It's any chance to take a preventative measure," said Gustafson. "We don't ever want to have a black eye."
Gustafson said the city is close to naming a contractor to install the cameras, however, he would not reveal a company name at this time.
"But we are really close," he said.
Pending DDA board approval, the cameras could be installed by December in time for the holiday season.
Between 16 to 20 cameras will be installed, although the exact number will be based on final system design. The system is slated to cost between $70,000 and $90,000.
"We'll know more after design is complete," Gustafson said.
Bradenton residents Helena and Arthur Simmons, who have lived here eight years, said the cameras will be a good addition to make sure the park stays safe. The London natives like coming to the park to walk their dog, Hector.
"I think it will add a sense of security to it, especially when it's empty, when kids are in school or when it's early in the morning," she said.
Her husband, Arthur, said he likes the police presence near the skate park.
"It's been a tremendous difference, It was pretty tacky before it started," said Simmons. "I remember how it was. This is beautiful now."
The DDA hopes to approve the surveillance cameras at the next scheduled board meeting at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.