Pittsburgh Officials Hope Gunshot Detection System Will Aid Police

Locator map with the Homewood South neighborho...

Locator map with the Homewood South neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shirley Wheaton, 73, says gunshots are regular background noise on Rosedale Street in Homewood, where she shares a home with her son, who is disabled.

But when she calls 911 to report it, emergency center operators often ask a question she can’t answer: Where is it coming from?

“Frankly, do you think I’m going outside to see where it’s coming from?” she said. “No one’s going to go outside to see where it’s coming from.”

Ms. Wheaton’s neighborhood will soon become the site of a $1.15 million pilot project to install a surveillance camera and gunshot detection system in a 3 square-mile area centered on Homewood.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-officials-hope-gunshot-detection-system-will-aid-police-687074/#ixzz2Sv8Buz6K

Pittsburgh City Council Approves Security Cameras For Homewood

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After heated discussion, Pittsburgh City Council passed two bills to install surveillance cameras and a gunshot detection system in a three square mile area in Homewood at a cost of $1.15 million.

The bills were sponsored by Councilman Ricky Burgess, who said recent violence in the East End underscores the need for the surveillance cameras and the gunshot detection system, which has the ability to pinpoint the location of gunshots and notify authorities.

Councilman Patrick Dowd and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak opposed the package of bills.  Ms. Rudiak said she was concerned about how the project was proposed and funded.  The money for the project will come from the 2014 capital budget, banking on the fact the city will likely run a surplus this year.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-city-council-approves-security-cameras-for-homewood-685652/#ixzz2Rz6U5M4S

Woe And Wonder: Surveillance Cameras Were The Key In Boston

It’s been an extraordinary week of fast-moving events — a week of tragedy, tears, anger and fear. Yet the bombs that on Monday shattered the joyful celebration of a storied event, the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring nearly 200, never blew a hole in the social fabric.  Too many helping hands — heroic first responders, brave ordinary citizens — stood ready to hold it together.

Then swiftly followed brilliant police work by the FBI, and other law-enforcement agencies aided immeasurably by the tools of the modern age — surveillance cameras in public spaces and video and photos shot on cell phones and digital devices in the hands of spectators. Those images proved decisive.

By late Thursday, after the FBI released video and photos, the tips were pouring in and the suspects — Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar, 19 — were on the run.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/woe-and-wonder-surveillance-cameras-were-the-key-in-boston-684246/#ixzz2R17HeZSf

Reading Police Still Probing After-School Melees

A wooden table leg, a baseball bat, a hammer and a two-by-four.

Those were just a few of the weapons wielded during after-school brawls among 75 to 100 teenagers, city police Sgt. John M. Solecki said Thursday.

City detectives were still sorting through video from surveillance cameras and from bystanders, who posted footage of the fighting Wednesday on Facebook.

And the fact that city schools started spring break Thursday wasn’t helping, police.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=464280

Reading Police Targeting Specific People, Addresses, Chief Says

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To function better with less manpower, Reading police target specific addresses and people who are the sources of much of the city’s crime, Police Chief William M. Heim said Monday at a monthly strategy meeting of city officers.

“We engage in a very focused type of policing,” Heim said.

When one burglar is caught, burglaries in that neighborhood often dramatically decrease, Heim said.

City police have been having the monthly meetings for seven years, but they have become more vital now that the police force has dropped from 215 to 168 officers due to spending cuts, Heim said.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=462229

Next Generation Of Reading Police Cameras Keeping Watch

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

Security camera at London (Heathrow) Airport. Taken by Adrian Pingstone in August 2004 and released to the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Pottstown needs to get cameras! There are grants out there!

Criminals, beware, for Big Brother is getting more eyes to see you.

And remember you.

Reading’s next round of 20 security cameras is being installed in new neighborhoods, augmenting the 27 cameras in the downtown network since 2008.

“We’ve been pretty successful with them,” Police Chief William M. Heim said, noting there have been dozens of cases in which the existing cameras have been helpful in solving crimes and arresting suspects.

In March, City Council awarded a $650,000 camera contract to New York-based Let’s Think Wireless, with money from the same 2007 federal grant of $1.7 million that bought the first round from the same company.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=451985

Allentown Gets Creative Using Private Sector To Expand Surveillance Camera Network

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

Image via Wikipedia

…Allentown is asking businesses to cover the costs of adding blue-light crime surveillance cameras to the 97 already installed on the city’s streets.

The city spent about $1.5 million on the cameras over the last four years, with most of the money provided by state and federal law-enforcement grants. But that funding is drying up, prompting the city to turn to the private sector to expand the network’s reach.

This month, Capital Blue Cross became the first company to chip in, paying the city $16,670 to install a blue-light camera at Hamilton and Jefferson streets, across from its 1221 Hamilton St. offices, near its employee parking lot…

To read the entire article from the Morning Call, click here:

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-allentown-security-cameras-20110813,0,5783419.story

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Allentown’s leadership for using surveillance cameras to fight crime and for seeking private sector involvement to expand their system! 

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Capital Blue Cross for being a responsible corporate citizen.

Harrisburg Mulls Surveillance Camera Installation In High Crime Areas

Mayor Linda Thompson stated one of her goals for 2011 is to have surveillance cameras installed throughout the city.  Public grants can be used to fund this project.

South Allison Hill and parts of Uptown and Downtown Harrisburg are being targeted as the most likely places to have cameras installed.  These areas experience high crime and surveillance cameras would act as a deterrent as well as provide police with evidence.

Wilkes-Barre has installed 230 cameras in various sites around the city.  They used $3 million in state funds from the Department of Community and Economic Development.  In Wilkes-Barre’s case, the cameras have not been a deterrent; however, the footage has helped police solve more crimes.  Wilkes-Barre has only experienced very minor equipment malfunctions.  Police officers rotate on camera duty.  The footage is monitored 24/7!

Larger Scranton has only installed 12 cameras (obviously not nearly enough).  The say the cameras malfunction often and are down sometimes for two weeks at a time.  Scranton obtained a grant for $200,000 to pay for their project.  Unlike Wilkes-Barre, the camera monitor is put behind the front desk.  The officer on duty is constantly being distracted with other work so footage is only monitored “as time permits”.  (See Wilkes-Barre model, Scranton PD)

And then there is progressive Lancaster!  Lancaster has had cameras installed since early in the last decade.  There are 165 cameras monitored by the Safety Coalition.  The Safety Coalition is a nonprofit volunteer organization.

During a six-month period is 2009, surveillance footage assisted in 51 arrests.  Police requested footage for 166 cases.  The Lancaster police love cameras!  Public and private grants fund the camera system.  Delegations from Baltimore, New York and Warren, OH have paid a visit to Lancaster to learn how their system works.  An interesting story is told of a man who was found dead on a sidewalk in Lancaster.  Police reviewed the surveillance footage and watched the man trip and fall.  He was not the victim of a crime.  Think of the cost savings to city residents by not having detectives investigate a simple slip and fall as a possible homicide!!

Carlisle is spending $270,000 in federal grants to install 15 cameras in their downtown area.

Harrisburg does have “some” surveillance cameras already in place.  Harrisburg Police and the Dauphin County District Attorney feel more cameras would be helpful.  Residents of Allison Hill and Uptown reacted favorably to surveillance cameras hoping they will reduce crime in the neighborhood.  Neighbors said the idea makes them feel safer and more protected.

We think these cameras are a great idea.  Personally, I would love to see them in Pottstown!  Remember, grants can pay for these projects.  No taxpayer cost involved.