Criminals could soon have a tougher time going unnoticed in LeFleur East.
The LeFleur East Foundation is providing up to $15,000 in incentive grants to help neighborhoods in the area purchase and install surveillance cameras.
Plans are that the cameras will eventually be linked together to form a district-wide surveillance network that would be monitored 24/7 by private security.
Video footage could be used to track suspect vehicles as they travel throughout the area and could be turned over to police searching for criminals involved in area crimes.
The foundation’s board of directors voted to provide the grants on a first-come, first-serve basis. So far, a couple of neighborhoods have shown interest, including LOHO.
“It’s an exciting concept,” said LOHO board president John Morgan Hughes. “If we get neighborhoods – LOHO, Eastover, Sheffield, Fontaine Place – we could all pitch in on 24-hour monitoring, which would be widely beneficial, especially at night.”
LOHO is hoping to install four cameras, one each at both ends of Roxbury Road and Northeast Drive.
To qualify for the grant, neighborhoods have to purchase a specific camera, with specific capabilities, that can tie in with other cameras already being used by LeFleur East communities.
“What we’re trying to encourage is that everyone stays on the common architecture,” LeFleur East treasurer Dale Currie said. “Fontaine Place is looking at one or two. LOHO is looking at a bunch. Meadowbrook Highlands is looking at replacing their system.”
Eligible cameras are under the brand name Mobitix, and include the recording and storage device all-in-one, Currie said.
“The other part is they have really high resolution and have infrared capabilities,” he said. “It’s better (to buy these) than cheaper ones.”
The cameras are about $6,000 apiece. Grants from the foundation are for $1,500 per device.
LeFleur East takes in a large swath of the Northside, running from Canton Mart Road/Old Canton Road in the north to the LeFleur Museum District in the south. East to west, the district is bounded by the Pearl River and I-55 North. It includes 22 neighborhoods, 2,600 homes and 300 businesses.
Neighborhood leaders estimate that there are already 35 to 50 surveillance cameras installed throughout the area, including in Eastover, Massena Heights and Meadowbrook Highlands.
The goal is to get as many neighborhoods as possible to use the same camera system, set up a network, and hire a monitoring service to monitor the devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“A lot of neighborhoods in (the LeFleur East) footprint have cameras, but the strength is putting them all together,” LeFleur East board president Clay Hays said. “It’s really important to tie all of them together.”