Montgomery County Public Safety Department Provides Public Inquiry Lines

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA (COURTHOUSE) — As Hurricane Sandy bears down on Montgomery County, residents can turn to county public safety officials for information about the hurricane.

The Montgomery County Public Safety Department announced Monday morning that staffers are manning phone lines to answer residents’ questions about the storm. Residents with questions about what is happening in their area can call 610-631-9700.

John A. Corcoran, deputy director of external affairs for the Montgomery County Public Safety Department, stressed the phone lines are for general questions, not emergencies.

“They should call 911 if they have an emergency and call their utility if they have a power outage,” Corcoran explained.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20121029/NEWS01/121029520/montgomery-county-public-safety-department-provides-public-inquiry-lines&pager=full_story

Governor Corbett Makes Disaster Declaration In Preparation For Frankenstorm

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Predictions for the hybrid storm bearing down on the Northeast keep worsening and the tone of the coverage is growing ever more strident, so it’s no wonder the phone at Ice Cream World has been ringing off the hook.

No one’s looking to stock up on ice cream. The South Whitehall Township ice cream parlor across from Dorney Park has long been a supplier of dry ice for power outage emergencies.

A block of the frozen compressed gas can preserve the food in a powerless refrigerator for days.  And with the storm dubbed “Frankenstorm” predicted to rampage from Sunday to Wednesday with powerful winds and flooding rain, power outages are a virtual certainty.

“For years people have known we’re one of the centers for dry ice,” owner Kim MacIver said Friday. “We’ve had people show up, but we’re asking them to wait.”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-frankenstorm-latest-20121026,0,5655788,full.story

Pittsburgh And Its Suburbs Having Success With Surveillance Cameras

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

Image via Wikipedia

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’….