Safety Coalition Formed Offers Surveillance Cameras, Training To Improve Neighborhoods


A coalition in Lancaster, Pa., has been formed to publicly operate citywide for community safety efforts, which includes offering to neighborhoods more video surveillance cameras on city streets.

The community safety coalition, a 50-member, non-profit organization, says the cameras will assist police in crime prevention, and will also help train and educate local residents on crime prevention methods.

The coalition’s leased office space will have at least one room devoted to monitoring cameras, officials said. The paper states the group has studied other video surveillance efforts by communities in Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia and Johannesburg, South Africa.

“We want to have the private sector and the public sector get together, and oddly enough, in the past they have not been,” said Al Lewis, former vice chairman of the now-dissolved Crime Commission, according to the Lancaster (Pa.) New Era. “It’s the salvation of the city.”

City police want the organization to be community-led, not police-led, said city police Capt. Don Palmer. “We don’t want to do the monitoring; we didn’t feel it should be police department-led, but we want to be part of it,” he said.

Palmer, a member of the coalition’s 18-member executive committee, said the police department took on a less prominent role so that “Big Brother wouldn’t be pushing this whole thing.”

The coalition represents residents, businesses and many other institutions. According to the article, the group determined in August that it could carry out its objectives efficiently with support from the community.

Funding for the coalition has already come from the alliance and city police, and it is expected that a mixture of public and private contributions from businesses, organizations and residents will support the coalition for the next few years.

Officials say the coalition’s work is not based on quick fixes but rather long-term solutions.

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