My turn

Mayor Copeland has his eye on reducing crime

2013-09-27T00:00:00Z Mayor Copeland has his eye on reducing crimeBy Steve Segura Times Columnist nwitimes.com
September 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The city of East Chicago is set to award $200,000 in gaming revenue to the East Chicago Housing Authority to increase public safety in the Calumet area.

The East Chicago Housing Authority has implemented a new system of surveillance operations that will commence in the West Calumet Complex within the next few days.

Concern for the safety of area residents prompted ECHA Executive Director Tia Cauley to meet with Mayor Anthony Copeland about public safety issues in West Calumet. As a result, the city has begun the process of awarding up to $200,000 to install video surveillance cameras throughout the area.

Approximately 80 to 85 cameras will be placed to overlook streets, the pool, park and residences.

“This is a public safety concern and we are committed to reducing crime in our city. This partnership between the city, the housing authority and the police department is a move in the right direction," Mayor Copeland said. "We take crime serious in East Chicago and public safety is one of our highest priorities.”

The surveillance cameras will be able to capture license plates and facial recognition. “The entire complex will be under surveillance,” Cauley said. “There has not been much crime in the area, but with safety being a top priority, if we don’t take care of it now, there will be issues in the future.”

Other cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles, have expanded their use of public surveillance cameras and tout the effectiveness of the technology.

Over the last few years, the city of Chicago has set up more than 500 cameras and claims that surveillance has been an important crime-fighting tool, resulting in more arrests.

Everywhere Wireless will be installing the new cameras. The current system is outdated and needs to be upgraded. The East Chicago Housing Authority has been meeting with managers and foremen about the new project and is looking to finalize the contract so that infrastructure work can begin.

The new surveillance system will take about 30-45 business days to complete and should be up and running in November.

There have been many burglaries in the area over the past few months, so access codes will be granted to the East Chicago Police Department to closely monitor surveillance video and track criminal activity as needed.

One of the biggest benefits in installing these new cameras is to allow people to feel safe while living, visiting or working in the area.

The purpose of the East Chicago Housing Authority is to assist people in their day-to-day lives while helping them transition to better themselves. When people feel safe, it allows them to focus on themselves and not fear their safety.

With an 18 percent reduction in crime in East Chicago thanks to the E.C. Police Department STOP Team, this will only further enhance public safety and the quality life for the citizens living and visiting the Calumet area. Mayor Copeland is committed to public safety and this is proof of that commitment.

 Call Cauley at (219) 397-9974 with any questions.

Steve Segura is the East Chicago multimedia director. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at ssegura@eastchicago.com.

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