Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler just told us on NBC 3 News at 5:30 that Assemblyman Sam Roberts has obtained $91,000 in state funding to help pay for the next round of cameras to be posted in his district, on Syracuse's South and East sides.
The original 9 cameras, just activated, were purchased with $140,000 in Federal Stimulus dollars.
The nine cameras installed for surveillance at 'key crime points' on Syracuse's West Side were all active this past weekend, and there is already a success story that police say shows their effectiveness.
One of the cameras was already working on March 24th, a week earlier, and has helped investigators identify a van involved in a shots fired call. Police Chief Frank Fowler says the incident was on Elliott Street at 10:30pm, and a witness saw the suspect get into a van and drive away. Police checked surveillance video and saw the vehicle described--a light-colored van---and also got a partial plate number: 3685. Chief Fowler now hopes someone will come forward and identify the van, which would allow them to make an arrest.
Fowler says the camera was placed to see the area where, before installation, they had 60% of the city's shots fired reports, so he's happy that it's in the right location and getting results. Mayor Stephanie Miner, also at this morning's news conference, said she's happy to be using the technology to keep more of the city safe. The cameras are now in 'pilot phase', and in the next three to six months area residents will be part of the evaluation process, on whether the neighborhoods are safer.
One of the major concerns with the cameras, is privacy. Miner says safety trumps privacy in this case. Fowler says there are policies in place, spelled out on the Syracuse Police website, and that no one can review the videos without permission of the chief or first deputy chief. The cameras are visible, intentionally, and Chief Fowler says that is already helping deter groups, gathering on streets.
Also at this morning's news conference, representatives of Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN), which lobbied hard and collected petition signatures to get the cameras up, in hopes of stopping the flight of long-time residents who fear for their safety. . Rich Puchalski says he hopes the new cameras send a message: enough is enough.
===============Syracuse Police and the mayor held a news conference this morning to talk about new security cameras on the city's west side. The nine cameras went live on Saturday, and they're proving to be useful already.
They helped police in a shots fired incident that happened on March 24th
They're currently in a trial period. Police officials say they will reassess how the cameras are working after three to six months.