No Loan for Cameras

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

The city's legislative body said no with a 4-4 vote on the mayor's request for permission to get a loan up to $350,000 to pay for the ten surveillance cameras he'd touted as the centerpiece of a crime-fighting plan.

"They work," he says, arguing that they helped caught a serial killer in Kansas. He says they will reduce court costs by making prosecution easier. He also says they will prevent crime, because criminals don't want to be caught on camera.

Opposition to the idea is widespread. Some say watching troubled neighborhoods is a big brother-like invasion of city rights. Other simply don't trust the cameras to make a difference.

"All the people are going to go someplace else because they know where the cameras are," worries Jerry Estes, who lives on the eastside.

On the question of priorities, city councilwoman Carol Wood, who's mom Ruth Hallman was murdered in July, says she wants to make the city safer--with more officers.

"An additional 1 or 2 officers out there over the next 10 years would give us that opportunity," Wood says.

Bernero calls that a false choice, comparing it to the question of officers or guns. "I want officers with guns."

The mayor says these cameras are those same essential tools. Wood argues the city doesn't have the resources to make them work at their potential.

The stage is now set for a battle over budget power. The mayor says he will find the money in the general fund or elsewhere "We will buy the cameras in the next best, the next most efficient way to do it," Bernero says.

He said at the council meeting he has already raised some money from local businesses to that effect.

Some on council say that's against the city's laws.

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  • by carl Location: bigger city mich on Sep 19, 2007 at 08:18 AM
    the cost-alot, could help,yes,could get destroyed by the law breakers,if some crimal is in your home,camera won't see them,then too late.the crimal avoids the law-will the camera.more police officers needed-can't afford.more undercoved officers needed-can't afford.against laws-change laws.want more law protection-higher taxes on something.bigger cities-more people,more gangs,more proverty,= more crime.homeless people-desperate people.thoes wanting camera,pitch in.thoes who don't-live with the crime.if or not they work or get crime off the street???it's better than not trying at all.
  • by Travis Location: Mason on Sep 19, 2007 at 07:32 AM
    This is perfect! Lets not utilize these cost effective forms of public safety but continue to build "rain gardens" and other moronic beautification processes for a city that is to scared to go out and enjoy these projects due to the crime. Furthermore, you have to love the city council voting down this proposition. Of course they would, they all live in safe neighborhoods. Some of them feel that the city should just hire more police officers. Oh, thats genius. Benefits, wages, work injuries, retirement, holidays. That is much cheaper. And what happens next fiscal year when there is no money for those officers. They get laid off and BAM we are back to where we started. I think these cameras, monitered properly, could be a huge asset to a struggling city. I remember a phrase from a few years ago, as I am only 26, that said "Lansing, we are making it happen". Lansing was safe and I emphasize WAS. Just pay for the cameras and stop buying tulips for the street corners.
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