Published on October 14th, 2015 |1
Council Dist. 8’s Security Plan adds lots of surveillance technology
At the Sept. 13 Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting, Adrean had outlined her vision for a high-tech public safety system of surveillance cameras and license plate readers and she is ready to put some of her City Council office money behind it.
Rather than pursuing a neighborhood by neighborhood approach, Adrean wants an innovative district-wide security plan and is working with the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Atlanta Police Department to bring it to fruition.
The 6:30 p.m. meeting Oct. 13 at the Buckhead Theatre was an information session for residents in District 8 and about 60-65 attended, to hear from Adrean, Police Foundation President David Wilkinson, Atlanta Police Deputy Chief C.J. Davis and the city’s COO Dan Gordon.
The city of Atlanta, in partnership with the Police Foundation, business and neighborhood groups have about 5,800 cameras which, along with tag readers, are integrated through the city’s Video Integration Center to give police throughout the city an additional resource to fight crime. The goal is to have 10,000 cameras in the system by 2018.
“I am committed to building a network of cameras and license plate readers in District 8,” Adrean told the audience Tuesday night. “The goal is to fund the plan with a combination of city resources, neighborhoods, businesses and donors, and my first priority is to put cameras in areas most plagued by crime.”
Stating that the Atlanta Police Foundation is known as the number one such foundation in the country, Wilkinson told the audience, “Our job is to create a safer city” by supporting the crime prevention needs of the police department.
He said the camera network that has been established throughout the city is designed to take “boots on the street to more analytical technology driven paradigms.”
The Police Foundation decided to create a public/private partnership and created Operation Shield with the goal of placing 10,000 cameras throughout the city in 10 years. He said the plan is for private ownership of 80 percent of it.
“It has to be a deterrent against crime in order to be successful,” Wilkinson told the audience. “We put blue lights on bold, visible cameras so the sight of them will become a deterrent.” The cameras are integrated into the 911 system.
When a 911 call is received the monitoring officers “can look at the area in question live and also five minutes past. They can begin the crime investigation immediately,” Wilkinson explained.
He added, so far, the Foundation has created enough leverage to get the best cameras and at the best price. But neither the cameras nor license plate readers are cheap. They run right at $15,000 each.
In Buckhead, the Tuxedo Park neighborhood has taken the lead and ordered several of the cameras. It is one of the neighborhoods in District 8 that has witnessed an increase in home invasions, break-ins and burglaries (property crimes), along with the south part of Tuxedo Park, Peachtree Battle, Mt. Paran and Chastain Park areas.
Wilkinson said it is going to take 6 months to a year to know for sure if the cameras actually work effectively as a crime deterrent. He and Adrean agreed that they want both cameras and license plate readers in key District 8 locations.
Adrean indicated she understood that not all Buckhead neighborhoods can afford to step up and buy a large number of cameras on their own like Tuxedo Park has done.
Specifically referring to some of the neighborhoods along Northside Drive and Howell Mill Road in the south part of her district, Adrean assured them they were high on her list of places that need the devices because they are along prime entry and exit routes for criminals working in District 8.
APD Zone 2 Commander Major Van Hobbs that crime in Atlanta is at 1960s levels, but that property crime is up 38 percent year-over-year in Zone 2. That includes an increase in stolen cars (a third of which had the keys left in them) and guns taken out of cars—11 in the past week.
The Security Plan for District 8 includes installing more than 200 DTZ surveillance cameras, which tilt and pan a 360-degree area and can read a
sign 300 yards away, and 135 LPR cameras, which focus on a particular spot and take pictures of every image that passes and converts it to data.
The audience was told that the planned system for District 8 is about a $4 million project and the Police Foundation has $2.175 million in commitments. They hope to have the project completed by the end of 2016.
Asked if cameras owned by private homeowners can be integrated into the system that is monitored downtown, Wilkinson told the audience that those private cameras usually are part of a private network that does not allow sharing or integrated use of what is recorded.
However, both Wilkinson and Hobbs said that police often canvas all the homes surrounding a crime scene to see which ones have cameras systems, because there may be images on those cameras that could be useful to the police in their investigation of the crimes.
For further information about the District 8 Security Plan, contact Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean’s office at 404-330-6051 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.