CORONA (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of city-owned security cameras in Corona have been unified into a single video management system so they can be more effectively monitored by the Corona Police Department.

Corona police officials say they have taken 444 cameras from city-owned buildings, traffic managements and city parks and unified them onto a single network so they can be monitored proactively by police officers, specially-trained volunteers and civilian personnel.  The new system includes capabilities such as pan, tilt and zoom, one-way speakers and wireless networking at city parks.

Police can monitor all of the city’s cameras from the police dispatch center, or from other secured locations in the city. The system is so advanced staff can simply click on a camera somewhere on the map, and zoom in on an area. Police say the seamless capabilities will allow them to act more quickly in an emergency.

“We took multiple systems that were in the city … and we brought them all together into one video management system … to give the most accurate, up to date information to give to our first responders,” said Corona Police Department Sgt. Brent Nelson.

The camera upgrade has again raised the question of how best to balance personal privacy concerns with new technology that can help make communities safer.

Local resident Tom Marracci said he’s fine with the surveillance system since it makes him feel safer.

“Anything that makes the city safer is a good thing,” Marracci said. “Cameras can be a good deterrent. I’ve always believed if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Sharese Hill, who spoke to CBS2’s Tom Wait at a Corona park said she sees the benefit, but has concerns, too.

“Obviously I’m sitting here at lunch, I don’t need or want anyone watching me, but knowing the benefits it could provide is something to consider,” she said.

Seeking to allay concerns that the cameras are a privacy invasion, police officials said no audio is transmitted by the cameras.

The cameras were first installed in February of last year. Police said the new system has already been helpful – officials say it assisted in arrests for drug possession and drug sales at local parks during the first few months of operation.

Officials say they plan to add cameras to cover additional traffic locations, city parks and other city-owned facilities.

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