Security Cameras Help Clean Up Neighborhoods

Security Cameras Help Clean Up Neighborhoods

February 03, 2011 – John Schmon

Most cities have always had their tougher neighborhoods where crime is more prevalent. These types of areas are notoriously difficult to clean up and police properly, often making them dangerous with criminal activity running high. This is the story of one city that was actually able to clean up some of it's worst neighborhoods and how security cameras helped them do it.

In Newark New Jersey, there are been some neighborhoods where crime has been running rampant for years. One housing complex had lines of cars backing up on to the street, while groups of drug dealers would gather near the complex's entrance and ply their wares like a drive-through fast food place. In another nearby housing development drug dealers took over the courtyard, doing their business right in front of the intimidated residence. At a high rise development for seniors that's also in the area, drug addicts defecated in the corridors and prostitutes turned tricks in the stairways.

Then in 2007 the housing authority of Newark began the installation of approximately seven hundred surveillance cameras so far, plus they have plans to add another one to two hundred more cameras to the system. These cameras are mounted in hallways, on rooftops and on poles located throughout the city; all of these are monitored at the housing authority's central office twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

Soon after the surveillance cameras were installed, they began to show positive results. In July, a group of people were caught in the act of viciously beating a man in the hallway of an apartment building by the cameras. The local police officers were impressed with the quality of the video that was captured and arrested the entire group after they reviewed the footage that was recorded. There have also been other changes since the security cameras were installed; the local populace is no longer intimidated by the criminal elements in their neighborhoods. Children now walk and play in the area that had a line of cars waiting to buy drugs not that long ago and people now feel safe enough to sit outside their homes without being harassed by drug dealers. The housing authority of Newark doesn't keep track of crime statistics, but one official said that the number of safety complaints dropped from around two hundred per month to fewer than 20 in the same time span.

Newark is not the only city to utilize this valuable tool for cleaning up our streets, the housing authorities of many other cities are following this example and enjoying similar results. With the crime rate rising all across our nation, it's a relief to finally have the means to fight back.

John Schmon is an expert on video surveillance systems [] and security camera systems [].

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