Madison may require convenience stores to install cameras

MADISON — Madison's mayor is proposing that all convenience stores in the city have quality security cameras and keep records for at least 30 days as a way to improve public safety.

Mayor Paul Soglin's proposed ordinance was introduced to City Council on Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

"It will enhance public safety, it will save lives and it will make it easier to apprehend criminals in areas we've identified as hot spots," Soglin said.

The cameras would be required to create high-quality images with a date and time stamp. Stores would also be required to post signs at all entrances and exits informing customers that video recording equipment is in use.

Chief Mike Koval said the police department supports taking such measures amid rising cases of gunfire and homicides.

While many stores already have cameras, it's unclear how many meet the proposed ordinance's specific criteria, Koval said.

"We're doing good now, but we want to go from good to better to best practices," he said.

Security cameras may not be the best way to increase security measures, said Jeff Lenard, vice president for strategic industry initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores.

"Generally, these types of ordinances are well meaning but may not best achieve the desired outcome," he said.

Lenard said more effective methods include reducing the amount of signs in windows that block the view, having effective lighting and minimizing the amount of cash on hand by having a time-release drop safe.

The council will vote on the proposal at a later date. If it's passed, the ordinance would go into effect about six months later.