Several downtown Hazleton merchants have signed up to purchase security cameras connected to police headquarters at City Hall, according to Mayor Joe Yannuzzi.
“I’m pleased and satisfied with the number of people who have stood up and said they wanted to be involved,” Yannuzzi told those attending a Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Downtown Committee meeting Tuesday.
Chamber President Donna Palermo said she received about 25 calls about the cameras “right off the bat” after a representative from Northeast Surveillance and Alarm, Slatington, spoke to the committee.
Northeast Surveillance representative Keith Maxwell said then that each business could purchase a 1.3-megapixel, color, outdoor camera – with infrared capability for night use – for $975, or a four-camera system for inside their business at $2,800 or $79 a month under a 48-month, lease-to-own agreement.
The exterior cameras would be connected to the police system but the interior cameras would not, Yannuzzi said.
When questioned by merchants Tuesday morning, Yannuzzi said the $975 is a one-time cost, since there are no maintenance fees attached to it.
All outdoor cameras would be connected to a 65-inch screen – which can be divided into 32 windows – to be located in the police station, whether it’s at City Hall or moved to the former Security Savings building on West Broad Street.
“This is an excellent idea,” said Bill Spear Jr., chairman of the Downtown Committee. “This is an excellent opportunity for merchants and the police department to band together to protect the businesses.”
Yannuzzi said because federal Community Development Block Grant funds are being used for the camera system, they had to be put out to bid. Northeast submitted the low bid.
Yannuzzi said about $17,000 of the city’s annual CDBG allocation will be used for the computer hard drive and monitor being installed at City Hall, as well as a few cameras.
If a business has an existing system, it can be connected to the City Hall monitor, he said. Yannuzzi said some merchants who already have cameras are considering purchasing a new camera from Northeast.
Maxwell said a main tower would be erected on the downtown’s tallest building, the Hayden Tower at the Markle, but the cameras themselves would be mounted about 12 feet from the ground to provide a line of sight along downtown sidewalks.
Yannuzzi said police officers would assist merchants by providing the best locations in the downtown to place the cameras.
Yannuzzi said Maxwell is also starting to work on installing the system and its equipment at City Hall.