Jay and Orchard Street Neighborhood Association President Marion Walker knows first hand how effective surveillance cameras can be in fighting crime. “We had five of them and they covered this entire area. It worked so well until what we were getting once they went up and the people kind of found out that the cameras were installed they did what? They left!” said Walker.
That was a few years ago when walker says the neighborhood around Joseph and Orchard Street was a virtual war zone. “The big thing about the camera was that it served as a deterrent to keep people out of the neighborhood from doing illicit and illegal things,” said Walker.
Rochester officials plan on placing 75 surveillance cameras throughout the city. The program is similar to one unveiled in Buffalo last week. Rochester councilmember Carolee Conklin believes the cameras can be a cost effective way of fighting crime. “First of all if we have a shrinking population shrinking resources we need to look at other things besides adding more police officers and obviously technology is a tool that we should be seriously looking at,” said Conklin.
Robert Boyd of the Southwedge Neighborhood Association supports the cameras as long as they don't infringe on residents rights. “I think we still have to balance that with out rights as Americans and the whole right of privacy and everything else,” said Boyd.
Mitchell Page lives in the on Jay Street. He says he supports the program because he worries about his child’s safety. “Hailing from New York City I think coming up here to Rochester, I think this is a real good idea,” said Page.
City officials plan to close bidding on the project next Tuesday.