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VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Beach Police will be using more than 30 surveillance cameras to monitor crowds during college beach weekend.

There are 19 police department cameras and 13 traffic cameras monitoring several areas, including the Boardwalk, Atlantic Avenue and 22nd Street.

'It's a force multiplier, we can't have every Virginia Beach police officer at the Oceanfront. That's not feasible,' police spokesman Jimmy Cason said.

Lt. Harry McBrien says several Oceanfront cameras are from the 1980s and broken beyond repair.

During last year's College Beach weekend, some of the violent crimes were not caught on camera or the video quality was too poor to help identify suspects. The cameras, installed years ago, were not digital, so police couldn't enhance recorded video to get a closer look at potential suspects.

Police pushed to buy more cameras and upgrade existing units, but City Council didn't grant the needed funds. The chief has recently requested adding 16 more cameras at the Oceanfront, and upgrading from analog to digital.

McBrien says the police department has now logged into traffic cameras to put together a working system for this summer.

Police were able to connect all the cameras to one infrastructure, making it possible to monitor them from several locations, including their mobile command vehicle.

Cason says this weekend, officers will be dispatched wherever they see a problem.

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