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Improving public safety, and therefore quality of life of citizens, tops the list of expected duties for nearly all municipal leaders.

The Hammond City Council, mayor and police deserve praise for giving more than lip service to this notion.

New camera traffic technology adopted by city leaders earlier this year led police last week to a suspect believed to be connected to multiple home invasions, robberies and a sexual assault, with these crimes spanning Hammond and Lansing.

The arrest of David Washington, 34, of Gary, came courtesy of what city leaders have dubbed "Hammond Blue Net."

Hammond officials began to install the Blue Net's network of 30 license-plate capturing cameras earlier this year. In addition to reading license plates of vehicles entering and exiting the city, the devices also provide wide-angle views of strategic areas within the city for crime-fighting purposes.

The cameras are located at every major exit or entry point in the city.

City leaders have attributed decreases in crime at Carroll Street and Calumet Avenue, Tapper Avenue and Lyons Street and 175th Street and Columbia Avenue, among other locations, to the cameras.

Now they can add the capture of a fugitive suspected of burglary, burglary resulting in bodily harm, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated criminal sexual assault and being a noncompliant sex offender to the list.

Washington will get his day in court and is innocent unless proven guilty of any pending charges.

But the public safety potential and reality for Hammond's network of special cameras is now on full display for all to see.

It's an example of local government living up to one of its highest admonitions: protecting its citizens.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.