Monitoring for crime high over the streets of the Bloomsdale-Fleetwing section of Bristol Township are 20 cameras, monitored 24/7 by township police.
The cameras have lead to a “major decrease” in crime since being installed in March 2012, Bristol Township police Chief James McAndrew said last week. The decreased is estimated to be over 50 percent.
Federal Weed and Seed program money was used to help pay for the $400,000 state-of-the-art camera system that sits atop poles in the neighborhood. The program works to “weed” criminal activity out of neighborhoods and “seed” the neighborhoods with initiatives to reduce crime.
The camera system records constantly and also allows the pole-mounted units to be rotated 360 degrees, McAndrew said.
“We’ve got cameras watching the cameras,” the chief said when asked if vandalization of the cameras was a problem. “It’s pretty hard to hide from them.”
The neighborhood, which was constructed in the 1950s, has been a haven for crime in recent years. Police said the streets of the small rectangular section off Green Lane have logged more than half a dozen murders in the past 10 years.
In other parts of the nation, police cameras have been known to cut down of the amount of officers needed to patrol neighborhoods. The units have also helped prosecutors move cases forward.
Local and county law enforcement last week said that the 2006 murder of 30-year-old union machinist and Levittown resident Kevin Battista might have been able to be solved sooner if the cameras were in place at the time.
One of the delays in arresting Battista’s alleged murder was that witnesses were unwilling to cooperate in the neighborhood. District Attorney David Heckler said he hopes the cameras will help prevent that from happening in the future.
“You’ve got an awful lot of law-abiding citizens in this community,” Heckler said. The camera system is one way to help protect them, he added.
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