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Pine Bluff council members draft security camera ordinance

It's a pressing issue after a Big Red Food Mart store clerk died after being shot during a robbery back in September. The store had cameras, but they weren't on.
PINE BLUFF, AR -- Mohammad Alam may be the only clerk you see on duty.

But don't be fooled.

"Right now, we have a camera system outside monitoring and we have it in the office system. At night, it's always someone watching the camera system in my office," the Speedway store owner said.

He can see his store from different angles and see those same shots on his phone when he's away.

"Right now it's working good and monitor everything," Alam said.

The cameras not only ensure safety, but the owner says it catches thieves. He posted a picture of a person stealing beer.

"Anytime you can save one life in this city that's a gain," Alderman George Stepps said.

Stepps wants all stores to not only have cameras, but also make sure they work.  It's a pressing issue after a Big Red Food Mart store clerk died after being shot during a robbery back in September.  The store had cameras, but they weren't on.

"That's the first thing we ask: 'Do you have a camera?' When they say no, we have to start from bare minimum," Assistant Police Chief Ivan Whitfield said.

Whitfield recommended the council orders owners to get cameras if police are called to their stores more than three times in a year.

After that, bring on the penalty -- which would be a fine.

"We want to make it as we can for the people who have to work because people have to make a living," Stepps said.

Not a problem for Alam.

"Everybody needs monitoring cameras system then if something happens we can see," Alam said.

He said the quicker he can get a description to police, the quicker that suspect goes to jail.

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