HAZLETON – City police now have a new aid in place to deter crime and help catch the criminals who commit it.
One of the four surveillance cameras mounted on the Altamont Building, which houses the MinSec community corrections center.
Mayor Joe Yannuzzi on Friday showed off the city’s new video surveillance system.
“It’s a great tool for the police. The cameras themselves will deter crime just by having them there. But the system will assist police in their response as well,” Yannuzzi said. The city used $9,500 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the state to purchase heart of the surveillance system, which consists of a monitor and digital recording system at police headquarters in City Hall.
About $7,000 in additional funding is available for the purchase of video surveillance cameras, which cost about $1,000 each, Yannuzzi said.
On Friday, Keith Maxwell, of Northeast Remote Surveillance & Alarm, demonstrated the new system with four cameras currently trained on the MinSec minimum security community correctional center downtown.
MinSec purchased the cameras and the video is fed directly to the police station. Many business owners, residents and public officials have expressed concerns about a flurry of criminal activities associated with residents of MinSec since the facility opened in 2008.
Yannuzzi said approximately 10 other businesses in the city have purchased cameras that will be connected to the system as well. It’s part of a public-private partnership his administration has set up to deter crime downtown.
Homeowners can purchase cameras for their properties that can be connected to the system as well, Yannuzzi said.
Yannuzzi said he will wait to see if any additional merchants purchase cameras before he and the police department determine at which locations the city’s cameras will be installed. Yannuzzi said the city’s system is unique in that any of the cameras in the surveillance system can be monitored from a police cruiser on a laptop computer. So an officer can monitor various locations from a parked cruiser while on patrol as well as see what a situation looks in advance when responding to a call at a location where a camera is located.
The city of Wilkes-Barre’s video surveillance system doesn’t have that capability, Yannuzzi said.