SkyCop offers an extra set of eyes to holiday shoppers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SkyCop offers an extra set of eyes to holiday shoppers

(WMC-TV) - As shoppers move through the hustle and bustle this holiday season, there will be an extra set of eyes watching over the crowds in Southaven.

"If you're looking to come down to Southaven to commit crimes, you better go someplace else," said Southaven Deputy Chief Steve Pirtle. 

It's called SkyCop - and much like Santa - it's always watching.

"People creeping around the cars when you're leaving and stuff like that, it definitely makes you feel safer with it there," said shopper Winnie McNally. 

Right now the $50,000 machine is set up at the mall. But it can move anywhere -- just like the cameras.

There are three of them. Two for both sides of the parking lots and the other watching over the device.

"I think it would cover a larger area than if someone was just patrolling," said Shopper Camille Paog.

Patrols will still be out guarding the soon-to-be crowded shopping centers, but supervisors can also watch cameras from laptops and cellphones - as well the dispatch center where a call can be put out to a nearby officer if there's a disturbance.

Pirtle said SkyCop is more efficient than a patrolling officer because it's up 24 hours and 7 days a week. 

And shoppers say they don't mind the extra pairs of eyes.

This is Southaven's first SkyCop machine, it's already being used in Memphis.

The plan is to keep it here for now, though authorities can move it based on the crowds this shopping season.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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