Town addresses concerns about downtown cameras

Town of Wake Forest News

On Wednesday, the Town of Wake Forest announced it had partnered with WRAL to install two cameras in downtown. The cameras, which are positioned on the south side of the police department’s Brooks Street Substation, 221 S. Brooks St., and atop B&W Hardware, 232 S. White St., were installed primarily to allow WRAL to highlight the charm and vibrancy of downtown and spotlight popular town events, such as Friday Night on White, the Wake Forest Christmas Parade, and Meet in the Street, during its newscasts.

Since yesterday’s announcement, Town staff have fielded numerous inquiries from citizens with varying levels of concern about the intended use of the two new cameras. In an effort to address those concerns, the Town of Wake Forest wishes to clarify the following:

  1. WRAL only uses the cameras to show video during newscasts, breaking news, and weather events which may be live-streamed on wral.com. The rest of the time, the cameras take still images according to a set schedule. Whereas most of WRAL’s other partner communities allow their cameras to take still shots every one to five minutes, Town officials asked WRAL to set Wake Forest’s cameras to grab still shots no more than once every hour. WRAL has informed the Town that its system is not set up to poll different cameras at different intervals. As a result, WRAL will not regularly post any images from the Wake Forest cameras on its webcams web page.

  2. A poster on a local Facebook forum mistakenly compared Wake Forest’s cameras to the one along Franklin Street in Chapel Hill that provides a 24/7 live image feed and can be manipulated by visitors to the WRAL webcams web page. Wake Forest’s cameras do not provide a live web feed and cannot be operated by anyone other than WRAL and Town staff. Furthermore, at no time did the Town plan to provide a 24/7 live feed for public access.

  3. Any time WRAL uses the cameras during its newscasts, that video will be available on its website for varying periods of time before being replaced with newer video. For example, video from Wake Forest’s cameras was shown on WRAL newscasts last evening, this morning, and midday today. That video was available today for a brief time on the WRAL website. It has since been replaced by more recent footage obtained from cameras in other partnering communities.

  4. The Wake Forest cameras are pre-set to capture scenic views – not images of individuals.

  5. Finally, WRAL will only utilize video obtained from Wake Forest’s cameras in its coverage of news, weather, and special events in the downtown area. Again, the purpose of the cameras is not to focus on individuals, but rather to highlight the charm and vibrancy of downtown.

The Town of Wake Forest apologizes for any confusion and concern this initiative may have caused.

For more information, contact Communications & Public Affairs Director Bill Crabtree at 919-435-9421 or [email protected].

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