2 N.J. Cities Look to Video Surveillance to Fight Crime

Video surveillance applications are being pursued in two New Jersey cities to deter and combat crime, according to newspaper reports.

In Hamilton, a group of local business owners have agreed to fund a network of security cameras they hope will help deter crime and revitalize the growing Bromley business district.

At an entrance to the neighborhood, the township will hang a road sign to remind visitors that video surveillance by the Hamilton police department is under way, Mayor Glen D. Gilmore told the Times of Trenton.

Spearheaded by a local philanthropist, businesses have raised more than $100,000 for the cameras, which Gilmore said should be operational within a few weeks.

Video monitoring will “return the parks to the families,” Gilmore said. “These streets should be walkable streets.”

Police dispatchers will monitor nearly two dozen pan/tilt/zoom cameras.

In Asbury Park, police say they’re leaning toward a citywide fiber-optic network for surveillance cameras in neighborhoods to deter crime, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Police Chief Mark Kinmon has been researching how best to get security cameras mounted in the city and reported to the city council recently that it could take about six to eight months to install a system.

The estimated cost is $600,000 citywide, and the police and city are researching federal justice grants and funding sources, the newspaper reported.

Currently, Asbury Park police have hardwired security cameras at the city’s transportation center, which officials say noticeably improved safety there.

But while those cameras are wired to the adjacent police station, that system is not feasible for surveillance in some neighborhoods farther away, according to the newspaper.

“We’re now leaning toward a better quality system that is much more involved,” Kinmon said.

One of the variables on how long it could take, Kinmon said, is if the city can use space on telephone poles, which might previously have had police or fire call boxes. If so, that can cut down on some of the regulatory authorization of starting up the security cameras.

An advantage to the fiber-optic network is that it can store the surveillance video information on a server for a very long time, while the tapes from the train station are recorded over on a 30-day cycle.

Kinmon told the newspaper fiber optics would let detectives go back to a scene three months earlier. And police could call up any camera location in the city on their squad car laptops.

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