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Eyes in the Sky to Watch for Crime

Members of the public safety committee showed widespread support for the installation of security cameras in Cleveland neighborhoods. A limited number of cameras are already in place. Ward 3 Councilman Zachary Reed says it's helped his community so much, it's about time the rest of the city got on board.

Zachary Reed: These cameras now are the lifeblood of our community simply because you cannot believe how many merchants now are asking for these cameras.

Reed says the cameras have reduced crime by 73% where they're located. Asked if installing cameras just moves crime elsewhere, Reed says that's not necessarily a bad thing as criminals make more mistakes when they're out of their comfort zone. Councilwoman Dona Brady agrees that cameras are a crime deterrent, but she wants the council to think carefully about how they can be most effective.

Dona Brady: Who's going to monitor it? Who's going to sit there in front of that camera 24 hours a day? And then, the second challenge of that is, so you see a drug deal going down, by the time the police get there, it's finished. It's gone and these kids are wearing hoodies and you can't see them anyway.

Brady is calling for a citywide surveillance program with enough city and law enforcement support to be effective.

While some have raised civil liberties concerns about such widespread surveillance, some council members say that safety and reducing crime are bigger priorities. Another question is who will pay for the cameras? On proposal is that businesses be asked to help fund the program. Homeland Security money could also be used for purchasing equipment. If the city council adopts a plan to install cameras, they will likely start with recreation centers, and then move on to business and residential areas known for high gang activity.