Monday, October 23, 2006

Reducing Crime in Allentown with Video Surveillance

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski plans to redirect $154,000 that was to be used for added police presence to pay for video surveillance cameras in the city's economically distressed zone. Coupled with an anticipated $200,000 grant from the state, via Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, Pawlowski said he hopes to get 25-50 cameras on the street next year.

Pawlowski, who first broached the idea of surveillance cameras in April, said the city is also talking to Muhlenberg College and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation about tapping into their network of cameras to extend its surveillance reach.

''Now we will have this massive network of cameras,'' Pawlowski said.

The first step will be to install eight to 10 cameras in the downtown business district and surrounding blocks in the Weed and Seed area, which stretches from the Lehigh River to Eighth Street and from Hamilton to Tilghman streets.

Pawlowski also has included $250,000 in his capital budget to expand the program in concentric circles.

"If you contact Baltimore and Wilmington, they have seen drastic reductions in the crime rate in the areas where the cameras have gone up,'' said Capt. Daniel Warg, who is heading up the initiative on the law enforcement side for the city.

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