Allentown (Pa.) to Install HD Security Cameras Around New Sports Venue

A local installing security contractor will also redeploy other existing standard definition cameras to other city neighborhoods.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – City officials here announced this week that 14 surveillance cameras will be added or replaced in the area around the newly constructed PPL Center sports arena and neighboring downtown redevelopment.

City Center Lehigh Valley, the developer behind most of downtown Allentown’s ongoing construction projects, donated $150,000 to the effort along Hamilton and Linden streets, lehighvalleylive.com reports.

“We’ll continue to do everything we can to make things uncomfortable for anyone who wants to break the law here in the city of Allentown,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said.

Eight high-definition cameras are planned at intersections to replace 7-year-old standard-definition surveillance cameras, according to Charles Thiel, general manager of security at the new cameras’ installer, Communications Systems Inc.

“It’s like going from an old television set to a new HD television,” Thiel told lehighvalleylive.com. “The current cameras can’t see a license plate from up to two blocks away like these new ones can.”

City Center is also covering the cost of three new cameras along the Allentown Arts Walk, and the city is funding three more on City Square at the Seventh and Hamilton streets. Allentown currently has 130 security cameras throughout the city. It started with 12 in 2007 and added more each year, according to lehighvalleylive.com.

Pawlowski said the city has seen a 20% drop in violent crime and burglaries in areas near the cameras, and the city’s graffiti problem has been reduced by almost 90%.

“They’ve been very effective,” Pawlowski said. “It’s one of several tools we’ve used to enhance public safety over the last couple years.”

Assistant police Chief Keith Morris told lehighvalleylive.com since 2007, there have been about 300 documented “camera catches,” with about 177 arrests resulting from them. He said about 7,490 calls have been generated from the camera monitoring.

The standard-definition cameras being replaced around the hockey arena area will be redistributed to other city neighborhoods outside the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the 130-acre tax district that made the hockey arena financing possible, Pawlowski said.

City Center Lehigh Valley President J.B. Reilly said this is fitting with his company’s goal to support not only downtown Allentown, but the adjacent neighborhoods as well.

“It’s our hope that the combination of private and public eyes watching our streets around the clock will give complete confidence about living, working and playing in downtown Allentown,” he said.

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