Borough to install harbor security cameras before winter

After an uptick in thefts at Wrangell harbors in recent years, the borough is moving to install security cameras and improve lighting at all the facilities to help keep users’ property safe.

At its June 13 meeting, the borough assembly unanimously approved a nearly $500,000 contract with Juneau-based Chatham Electric to install security cameras at the eight port and harbor sites around Wrangell.

Starting around 2020 and 2021, there has been an increase in theft at the harbors, explained Harbormaster Steve Miller. About five boats were hit during those years, motivating borough officials and community members to push for more security.

“It was enough to get us going on that project,” Miller said of the thefts. “Everybody’s wanted it for much longer than 2021 or 2020, really. We were just trying to figure out where the money was going to come from.”

The project is funded by U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants, through a state program that provides money for law enforcement and security-related needs around Alaska. The borough has received $836,910 for design and construction of its surveillance system, as well as additional lighting at harbor facilities.

Once cameras are installed, the surveillance network will cover Reliance Harbor, The Marine Service Center, City Dock, Heritage Harbor, Shoemaker Bay Harbor, Inner Harbor, Fish and Game Float and Standard Oil Float.

“Each site is designed to be equipped with one or more surveillance cameras and a wireless connection to the surveillance system … located at the harbormaster office,” Capital Facilities Director Amber Al-Haddad wrote in an email. “There are about 24 camera units total across all sites; however, many of these have multiple lenses.”

Miller anticipates that installation will start late summer and will be completed before winter. “It’ll make the harbor more secure,” he said. “It there’s any activity down there, we’ll be able to look and see what happens.”

The cameras will have live feeds, but those feeds “most likely won’t be getting checked every day,” Miller added. They will be checked as needed and to aid in investigations.


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