BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo Police have a new tool used in New York City and on Bourbon Street in New Orleans to help control potentially unruly crowds.
The night before Thanksgiving is the busiest party night in Buffalo's Entertainment District and with drinking involved, police keep busy. If you visit Chippewa Street Wednesday night, you won't be able to help but notice officers' newest crime fighting tool hovering above the street.
Skywatch allows officers to see hundreds of yards down the street. With high definition cameras that give police a 360 degree view, officers can zoom in on a crime they see happening, and radio officers on the ground to go respond. It essentially is a high-tech mobile watch tower.
PHOTO GALLERY | See what the street looks like while up in Skywatch
Mayor Byron Brown says they've received a lot of requests for more cameras in the city to deter and help solve crime. Skywatch will be used mainly to prevent and stop crimes such as disorderly conduct. They make about 10 arrests for that charge every year on the night before Thanksgiving.
And other agencies will have an increased presence to try and prevent drunk driving.
John Sullivan of Erie County Stop DWI said, "What we want is people to enjoy that part of the experience, but if drinking is going on, we encourage you to plan ahead and make sure you have a safe ride home tonight."
Buffalo Police paid for Skywatch with money from Homeland Security. Another neat feature is officers inside police headquarters can control it remotely if they want. But for now, Buffalo Police plan on having two officers in it at all times.
Chippewa Street from Elmwood to Delaware will be shut down to vehicle traffic until Thursday morning.
A Town of Tonawanda restaurant owner has been arrested and charged with strangulation and assault.
State Police need your help finding the pickup truck driver who pinned a mother against her vehicle as she was loading her baby and young son into it and then fled the scene.
A house became engulfed in flames on Route 243, in Rushford, early Wednesday morning.
One third of Canadians receive their mail straight to their door but that will soon be changing. Canada Post will phase out their door-to-door delivery over the next five years.
The Niagara County Sheriff's Office says two people lied in a formal written statement that was filed with the Department of Social Services.
Lakes will remain active on and off through the weekend.