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Woodbury Police Revolutionizing Surveillance With Inexpensive Citywide Camera System

WOODBURY, N.J. (CBS) -- Police in a Gloucester County town are taking their mission to protect and serve to the next level. Officers are using new technology to watch over the city.

Whether someone is looting a store or littering on a sidewalk, there's a good chance it's being caught on one of the many cameras in Woodbury. The technology is so inexpensive, you may soon see it in a town near you.

There isn't much that gets past Woodbury Police these days, now that they've got more than 60 high-definition views of town.

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"We had a hit-and-run on Route 45, our main corridor, and within 90 seconds, all the officers on the street had a picture of that person who then fled the area," Woodbury Police Chief Thomas Ryan said.

A comprehensive citywide surveillance system like this can easily cost more than $1 million, but this one was less than $25,000. And with a few less cameras, it could have been even cheaper, thanks to a nonprofit service based in New Orleans called Project NOLA.

"Everything gets streamed from their cloud server back to our network here, where we're able to monitor, download, playback and watch live," Woodbury Police Sgt. Brian Boucher said.

By routing all the video through New Orleans and back again, Woodbury didn't have to buy or maintain an expensive server. And the cameras don't need dedicated infrastructure, just home and business owners willing to mount the cameras and link into their WiFi.

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The business community in downtown Woodbury likes the added protection so much that the Chamber of Commerce kicked in $5,000 to help police buy more cameras.

"The businesses now have a lookout with the police watching to see what things happen around their business so people feel safe in doing business in Woodbury," said John Campbell, executive director of the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.

The cameras are a crime deterrent and ultimately, a possible savings to taxpayers on police overtime. In just a few months, the cameras have helped solve several dozen cases.

"You can't run from the fact that there's truth right in front of you on these screens," Ryan said.

The base cost for a town to add a similar system is about $8,000 and other municipalities have already reached out to Woodbury about the system.

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