The newest security camera to be installed as the result of the efforts by the Belhaven Improvement Association watches over the corner of North Jefferson and Manship streets.
“The first one that went up in Belhaven was donated by the Belhaven Town Center development,” said Reed Hogan, president of the Belhaven Improvement Association. “They’ve donated two cameras to this project.”
A total of four high definition, vandal-resistant cameras that are each equipped with a flashing LED light have been installed in the neighborhood, he said.
The cameras will not solve crimes but are part of a varied approach that includes engaged residents, landscape lighting and police presence, all of which the Belhaven Improvement Association works to promote.
“I don’t think there’s one magic bullet but cameras are part of a multifaceted approach to shift crime from your neighborhood,” Hogan said.
Individuals and businesses have contributed funds for the purchase and installation of 15 cameras, he said, noting that the cameras have been ordered and additional ones are expected to be installed next week.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the neighborhood support,” he said. “We share one thing in common. We love Belhaven and believe it’s a place worth fighting for.”
The Belhaven Improvement Association’s plan is to install 30-35 cameras, he said. The neighborhood’s perimeter on North State Street, Fortification Street and Riverside Drive and six key artery streets are targeted for cameras.
Belhaven Heights is working on security from Fortification Street to High Street, Hogan said.
The cameras, which cost about $6,000 each to purchase and install, tie into Jackson’s real time crime center on Riverside Drive that provides 24/7 live monitoring, he said.
The sight of a camera sends a message: “It tells criminals they’re being watched,” Hogan said.
The Belhaven Improvement Association worked with Jackson Police Chief James E. Davis and Deputy Chief Vincent Grizzell for about three years to reach this point with the cameras, he said.
“The city is pushing hard to create a good network of cameras across Jackson,” Hogan said. “It’s a real supplement so an under-resourced department can have more eyes on the ground.”
The establishment of a network of security cameras to deter crime is something New Orleans has done, he said.
Security cameras are enhancements the Belhaven area will likely see paid for by funds generated from its Community Improvement District (CID), which is in the process of establishment.
Residents in Belhaven and Belhaven Heights, the neighborhoods that compose what’s known as Greater Belhaven, have expressed the desire to use the funds to focus on security in the neighborhood, said Casey Creasey, executive director of the Greater Belhaven Foundation.
The district is expected to generate $200,000 annually, which could be used for landscaping, parks, infrastructure, security enhancement and as matching funds for grants for larger projects. Funds for the district improvements would most likely not be available until 2023.
Hogan said he expects about $100,00 annually from the CID to be used to purchase and install security cameras.