Charlottetown police say the 30 video cameras installed outside city businesses as part of the Ewatch program are helping to prevent crime and provide information for investigations — and the program will continue to expand. 

Local businesses buy the cameras for $5,000 and police have access to them in the event of a crime.

Det. Sgt. Brad MacConnell says he believes the cameras have already helped with crime prevention, although it's too early to provide concrete data.


A map shows the locations of E-watch surveillance cameras in the Charlottetown area. (CBC)

"We've already received favourable comments from people and businesses in the downtown that have seen an improvement in the area of crime prevention since the cameras have been deployed," said MacConnell. 

He says the cameras have been used a number of times for smaller things, such as property damage and expects to get more feedback over time.

"I think we'll hear from our citizens in a year's time … and we'll engage them to see if they feel it's an initiative that should carry forward," MacConnell said. 
Police say an additional 15 cameras are expected to be installed by the end of the month, with the goal of having a total of 80 installed across the city by August.

The cameras are in the downtown core, for the most part, though some are as far away as the Canadian Tire near the Charlottetown Mall.

Footage is used only in the case of a criminal investigation and cameras are not actively monitored — with videos retained for two weeks, according to police.