The City of Pittsburgh and some adjacent suburbs are successfully using surveillance cameras to deter and solve crime.
Pittsburgh has surveillance cameras in place downtown and in various neighborhoods throughout the city. According to their 2009 Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Police, Annual Report, there are 120 cameras throughout the city they hope to tie-in to a wireless platform at the Emergency Operations Center and other key locations for constant monitoring of video and data transmissions.
Another goal is to have at least 32 cameras on 16 bridges. The mayor also wants to install gunshot locator and detection cameras in high-risk neighborhoods. (I believe Harrisburg uses these.)
Pittsburgh is adding 28 more cameras, using a $3 million grant along with 25 percent matching funds from the city, as part of the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime program. Pittsburgh’s ultimate goal is a city-wide camera system, which includes the Port of Pittsburgh (the second largest inland port in the U.S.)
Surveillance cameras will be added in suburban Swissvale, prompted by a rash of crime in Regent Square. Three cameras will be installed along Braddock Avenue within two months. Ten to twelve more cameras will be added at other locations in the borough. Each camera costs $9,000, which includes installation, but there are grants available for municipalities to buy surveillance cameras.
Other communities with surveillance cameras include Homestead, West Homestead and Munhall.
Under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh has experienced three consecutive years of historic-crime-lows, according to the city’s website. According to our friends at City-data.com, Pittsburgh’s crime index has dropped from 558.3 in 2007 to 474.8 in 2009 (Pottstown’s 2009 crime index was 454.7 if you live locally). Murders dropped from 72 in 2008 to 39 in 2009. Most crime categories showed drops between 2008 and 2009. 2010 crime data is not available at this time.
HINT: If the inexpensive crime tracking software Scranton purchased was used to determine surveillance camera placement that would seem to be an ideal crime fighting tool for Pottstown’s core neighborhood! Just sayin’….