Hammond installing surveillance cameras at four locations

2012-08-26T23:00:00Z 2012-08-27T12:38:04Z Hammond installing surveillance cameras at four locationsBy Chelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Surveillance cameras designed to send video footage to the Hammond Police Department are being installed at four locations in the city.

The cameras are a first for Hammond, but the technology is widely used in Chicago. The intersections receiving cameras are Lyons Street and Tapper Avenue; Calumet Avenue and Carroll Street; Sibley Street and State Line Road and Lyman Street behind Harrison Park.

Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said the cameras will allow police to view footage if a crime occurs at one of the intersections.

“We look forward to them going up,” Miller said. “These are pretty high speed cameras that get pretty good resolution.”

Chris Campbell, Hammond's information technology director, said the cameras will go live in about two weeks. Campbell said the cameras will route the footage to police dispatch and also record for later viewing.

Testing on the surveillance network began a year ago. Campbell said if the cameras work well, he could see Hammond placing them in more locations.

A study released last year by the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center found cameras in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood were responsible for an approximately 12 percent drop in crime. Yet, in a different Chicago neighborhood, cameras had no impact.

The study also found cameras monitored by trained staff yielded better results.

“We think that's because when you have someone actively monitoring the cameras they can catch crimes in progress,” Nancy La Vigne, the policy center's director, said. “That really sends the message to criminals that the cameras are effective.”

Hammond City Councilman Anthony Higgs, D-3rd, said residents have been vocal about shootings and other crimes happening near city parks, and he hopes the cameras will deter incidents.

One camera is near Martin Luther King Jr. Park east of Hammond City Hall with another by Harrison Park.

“Hopefully that will deter the crime,” Higgs said, “and prevent those types of instances from happening.”

Outside of Hammond, the city of Gary is hoping to obtain federal funding to install cameras as well.

Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram worked for the Chicago Police Department during the roll out of the city's camera system and said the footage helped police solve crimes.

“We need them here in Gary in certain areas -- especially in the business area down Broadway,” Ingram said.

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