Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Columbia police say their officers will now be able to watch 50 of the security cameras around the city live - startingFriday night.

That means they'll be able to monitor Five Points, the Vista and other areas as events happen.

Previously police only had access to delayed video. The department says this change will allow them to respond to situations as they happen and let them catch suspects more quickly.

Officers will be able to watch the cameras day and night. Interim Chief Ruben Santiago says the live cameras are part of the city-wide program to reduce and prevent crime.

In a news release Chief Santiago said, "We already know that the camera system works and is successful in solving crimes. Now, Officers will be able to monitor suspicious activity, gather investigative information on suspects, and corroborate or disprove information or someone's alibi in real time. We want to stop crime as much as we can before it happens and catch a suspect more quickly."

Columbia Police say they've used live monitoring previously during special events such as the city's New Years Eve celebration.