The Fondren Renaissance Foundation has set up a virtual neighborhood watch that will allow residents to upload home security videos so they can be viewed by Precinct 4 of the Jackson Police Department.
“It’s just giving people a place where they can upload security videos and have them go right to Precinct 4,” said Rebecca Garrison, executive director of the foundation. “A video will go into the database and Commander (Obie) Wells is notified by email that a new video has been uploaded. It’s a sortable data base, so he can sort by date and kind of activity.”
The goal is to give Precinct 4 another tool that they can use to make Fondren safer and to provide residents with a way to participate, Garrison said. Videos and photos can be uploaded at https://www.fondren.org/virtual-neighborhood-watch.
Jackson residents have posted videos and photos from their security cameras on Nextdoor.com, but without guarantee anyone from Precinct 4 saw them, she said.
The success of the program, which launched on Jan. 4, will depend upon Fondren residents and whether they use it, Garrison said. The program was developed with input from Precinct 4, she said.
The foundation’s virtual neighborhood watch doesn’t tie into the city’s Real Time Crime Center on Riverside Drive, which boasts access to more than 600 cameras as part of a surveillance network that assists the Jackson Police Department in fighting crime.
A camera that would cover the Fondren business district and tie into the Real Time Crime Center is under consideration, Garrison said.
The Belhaven Improvement Association has taken a different approach from Fondren and has 10 security cameras in the neighborhood feeding into the Real Time Crime Center’s network.
The association kicked off a comprehensive security and beautification plan about five years and worked with the Jackson Police Department to make sure the surveillance cameras in the neighborhood would be compatible with the department’s plans, said Reed Hogan, president of the Belhaven Improvement Association.
“Our mission is to preserve Mississippi’s largest historic district and a piece of long-term stability is security,” he said. “This is just a piece of puzzle.”
The association has a promise for five additional cameras, Hogan said, that are like the security cameras installed in south Jackson, a high crime area. “They’re high-resolution, have LED lights and tie into the city’s fiber system,” he said.
Connecting with the Real Time Crime Center makes the neighborhood’s system of cameras more robust, Hogan said.
“You have 24/7 live monitoring with JPD who can pull up a recording in real time if they get a dispatch call,” he said. “It puts it in the hands of the professionals.”
Ward 7 Council member Virgi Lindsay said cameras are already in some areas of her ward, including south Jackson and downtown Jackson. “I look forward to seeing more cameras installed throughout the city as funds become available,” she said.
Ward 1 Council member Ashby Foote considers the Real Time Crime Center a big step forward in the productivity of the Jackson Police Department.
“We don’t have as many officers as we ought to have,” he said. “This will help leverage technology as far as identifying crime and reacting to it in a timely manner. I’m optimistic about how it will help us tackle crime in Jackson.”