I understand police-monitored cameras were installed near downtown to help monitor crime. Some neighborhood crime watch groups, like the one in Prestonwood, also have considered installing video surveillance. Can you tell us a little bit about this crime-fighting trend, and whether you think it works or not?
The City of Dallas has deployed surveillance cameras in the Central Business District and the Jubilee Park area in an effort to reduce crime in those areas. In 2007 there were 785 camera-involved calls. As a result of those calls, 211 arrests were made. In addition, there were 86 incidents recorded on our cameras that investigators later used in conducting investigations. This camera-related activity certainly played a role in combating crime in these areas, but I cannot give you a definite numerical accounting of how much of a role they played. That said, I do think that neighborhoods would benefit from deploying cameras and related signage to inform the criminals that they are under surveillance, much like we do with signage about Crime Watches and Volunteers in Patrol groups. These all serve to put criminals on notice that committing offenses in these neighborhoods carries the risk of detection and apprehension. There are two major issues that must be resolved within the neighborhood before using this tactic: First is the issue of privacy of the residents, and second is the cost of the equipment. There are, however, neighborhoods that have resolved these issues to the satisfaction of their members, so it is possible to accomplish.
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