Metro Food Market adds outdoor camera to watch parking lot Shoppers feel safer

officer thinks it will deter crime, could help investigators

December 06, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A Pasadena supermarket is joining the battle against crime by installing a video camera to monitor its parking lot.

Metro Food Market in the Pasadena Crossroads Plaza placed a single camera several weeks ago on the roof of its store in the 8100 block of Ritchie Highway and has been recording events in the parking lot.

Out of about 14,000 businesses in the county, the supermarket chain may be the first to add external surveillance at its stores, said Jeanette Wessel, chief executive officer of the Anne Arundel Trade Council.

"It's an interesting concept," she said. "I know ATMs and other businesses have cameras inside, but I've never heard of one outside."

The supermarket chain also has a camera on the roof of its Millersville store in the Northway Shopping Center and has posted signs informing customers of the cameras.

Shoppers say that the surveillance is greatly appreciated.

"I think it's a good idea," said Albert Praybe, a 62-year-old Millersville man who accompanied his wife, Joan, to buy groceries at the Pasadena market. "Maybe that would thwart muggers."

"In case anybody gets robbed, they have it on tape," said Michael Rolf, a 22-year-old customer from Glen Burnie.

Metro officials declined to comment.

Wessel said she thinks the added security may help the supermarket by enticing people to do their shopping there.

"I think that anything that any business does to make its customers feel more secure is a good thing," she said. "Nowadays, people are a lot more nervous with their packages and cash."

Officer Vaughn Dykes, a county police spokesman, said no crimes were reported in the area of the supermarket during the past year. But he did point out that parking-lot robberies in the county have increased 9.3 percent, from 375 incidents from January through September last year to 410 for the same period this year.

"It's an excellent idea," Dykes said of the camera. "I think it would be helpful to investigators if the pictures are clear, and I think it would be a deterrent."

Some customers said they were unaware that the camera was above their heads.

"They should have notified the community," said Pearl Crump of Severna Park. "But I do feel safer."

Most agreed that they did not mind the camera's presence.

"It's Christmas time, when people start looking into other people's cars and all that," said Tom Brown, 35, of Pasadena. "I don't mind Big Brother sticking its nose in my business."

"It won't hurt," 73-year-old Melvin Cox said of the camera. "Safety precautions never hurt."

Pub Date: 12/06/96

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