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Owen Sound implements surveillance pilot project after business owner's fatal assault

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The City of Owen Sound has approved a new surveillance pilot project with 17 cameras installed in its downtown core to deter criminal activity.

The move comes over six months after the death of Sharif Rahman, a local restaurant owner who was fatally assaulted.

"It was truly a shock," said David Parsons, a local business owner and chair of Owen Sound's River District. "I don't believe that anyone would start up a business thinking that they could get killed in the process."

Rahman was the owner of The Curry House on Second Avenue East. The 44-year-old died in late August 2023, a week after being assaulted by three suspects outside of his restaurant.

"There was some outcry and some desire to make changes to make downtown a little safer," said Mayor Ian Boddy. "And a little more comfortable for people to come downtown."

The City will look to achieve that through its three-year, $80,000 surveillance pilot project, in which the 17 cameras will be attached to street poles across the downtown area.

"It's to give the community security that it's a safe place to be," added Boddy. "And that there is someone watching."

While they cannot provide real-time monitoring or audio capabilities, city officials hope they will discourage crime while being able to provide crucial evidence for when it occurs.

"These are simply an investigative tool," said Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose. "If it improves the perception of safety and people are more apt to come downtown, I think it's a positive win-win for everybody."

The City plans to install cameras in phases, starting in late summer. The pilot program will be re-evaluated based on feedback from officials and residents.

Meanwhile, the suspects in the Rahman homicide case remain at large, and the investigation remains ongoing.

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