Officials hope Harrisburg surveillance cameras will deter crime - abc27 WHTM

Officials hope Harrisburg surveillance cameras will deter crime

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Johnson Controls Inc. is teaming up with The Dauphin County Crimes Task Force to install 10 wireless cameras throughout Harrisburg.

Starting in late July 2013, these cameras (which cost around $3,000 each) will begin to be added to the city. The project is expected to be completed by the end of August.

The contract costs $373,000, with an additional $80,000 for maintenance and service. The Dauphin County Crimes Task Force is funding the project using revenue from table games at Hollywood Casino in Grantville.

Officials called it a "state of the art" system that won't be dependent on cellular towers, phones or cable. The cameras will be placed on poles around city, and authorities said they would eventually like to integrate the system with existing security at local businesses.

Because of recently reduced man power in law enforcement, officials plan to use this technology to assist police. The cameras are able to pan, tilt and zoom via remote control

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico has high hopes for the system's impact on violent behavior. "We believe that this video surveillance system will enable us to hopefully deter crime in certain high crime areas as well as capture video of criminal activity occurring which will lead to the sift and quick prosecution of criminal offenders in those locations," he said.

Mayor Linda Thompson agreed with the district attorney's assessment. "We [know] the cameras are not going to solve all crime, but it's an added value to all that we have been doing since 2010 to really begin to crack down on crime in our city."

The cameras will be monitored by three data technicians for 17 hours per day. Authorities reported that all areas of the city will be under surveillance; there will be no private sections.

Harrisburg citizens had mixed reactions. Midtown resident Sung Lee is suspicious of the plan. "I don't think the cops should be sitting somewhere watching cameras and just looking for people to do something. Big Brother always watching, ya know what I mean?"

Martin Kieffer thinks that the public's safety is worth the potential invasion of privacy. "I really don't like the intrusion in our own freedoms, however if it's going to combat crime, it's amazing. I think we need more of that."

Lancaster officials said their city's surveillance cameras are helping to keep the community safe. There are 160 cameras in Lancaster, much like the ones in Boston that helped identify the bombing suspects.

The Lancaster Community Safety Coalition runs and monitors the cameras, which roll 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Officials say the cameras should put residents at ease, adding that the system is used to protect—not invade privacy.

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