Pittsburgh And Its Suburbs Having Success With Surveillance Cameras

Security camera at London (Heathrow) Airport. ...

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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’….

4 comments on “Pittsburgh And Its Suburbs Having Success With Surveillance Cameras

  1. What a smart idea Roy. Doesn’t the DA collect the drug money from criminals in Pottstown when they are busted? That could be a little pot of gold right there, seems to me putting it to use for preventing crime in our boro is only logical. Yes, grants, I heard that there is money available. Another old fashioned and still very effective idea is adequate street lighting – imagine that. Street lights that aren’t about to fall over because the wooden poles are rotted and leaning. Lights that don’t flicker off and on sometimes remaining off, and at best, never spread enough light to expose the dark corners between houses where a lot of the drug activity is conducted. Lighting and cameras – gee

  2. Olive, I believe they confiscate money, cars, weapons and anything of value when they bust those people. We could afford to buy some cameras, the crime tracking software and get more lighting. PECO has programs for things like that and there are grants available for cameras. Even 10 cameras would only cost $90,000 installed. A blip on the police budget, even without any grants. That software was less than $10 grand. As the mayor of Scranton told me, you can not afford to NOT spend money! He is correct and that is why Scranton is revitalizing at an amazing rate.

    Councilor Weand was going to contact PECO and talk to them about some ideas he had regarding lighting as a crime prevention tool in Pottstown. Not sure how that went. Well lighted areas keep criminals away along with cameras and police on the streets.

    I did notice an increase in Pottstown’s police presence yesterday when out running errands. Not sure if they are being more aggressive in lieu of the problems a few months back. Maybe something will be said at the Council meeting tomorrow night.

  3. I have noticed, as well, the additional foot patrols and cars in the downtown. There were a couple walking down the sunny side of High St. on Friday and enjoying the sunshine as they went. It is nice to see them on the streets again. It would be such a benefit if they gently moved the vagrants along as they pass by them on High St., particularly. What a difference that would make. It seems that it could be useful for the Police Dept. to have a chat with the various organizations that house the disabled and work out a plan to minimize the loitering, and cigarette butts dumped on the street, of course the trash too. Maybe the county and the private org’s could come up with a day program to give these people something to do and a way to fit in?

  4. Amen sister! That situation needs to be dealt with if we ever hope to fill High St. with shoppers! None of that in downtown Scranton! Their old Woolworth’s was rehabed and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Fax Serve moved into that space and employ 200 people downtown. I did not see anybody just “hanging” as we walked through their downtown.

    Our old Woolworth’s is the problem you spoke of. That center does not belong in the central business district. And another Amen to finding people something meaningful to do rather than loiter all day. You know the old saying about idle hands 🙂

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