Watch Update: Camera program progressing

Diligent efforts to reduce crime in our beloved neighborhood seem to be paying off. As of this writing (6 p.m. Saturday May 21st), there have been no residential burglaries reported this month! Obviously dumb luck is just as likely a factor as anything, but at least the respite is real. A much-needed bit of breathing room, for whatever reason, was a long time coming.

On the camera front, we are in the final stages of systems testing and should begin field installations by early/mid June.

And while we’re on the subject of cameras, I want to point out a very important distinction between the Cooper-Young Neighborhood Watch’s proposed use of digital technology and that of other programs like SkyCop. We are not talking about cameras that will be transmitting streaming video to a central monitoring station. No one is going to be sitting in a blacked-out closet leering at a bank of flat screens, trying to catch someone walking down the street with a beer or not picking up their dog’s poop. To paraphrase the difference as worded by another CYNW organizer, “We (those responsible for the camera program) are not looking for criminal activity. We are working to provide evidence to help solve reported crimes.”

Here’s what that means. Yes, cameras will be rolling 24-7, dutifully recording all activity within their respective scope and range. BUT the video will only be accessed if and when a “major” crime is reported — burglary, assault, car theft, etc. — and the potential exists that one or more of our cameras may have captured an image of either the event itself or of a potential suspect coming or going. In most instances, we should be able to narrow down when a crime occurs to within a few hours (unless, of course, the victims are away on vacation.) This, in turn, provides a limited timeframe of video to review.

Only clips or images relevant to potentially solving the specific crime in question will be turned over to the Memphis Police Department.

In a nutshell, WE are working for YOU. You have a problem, you report the problem to MPD, just like always. The only difference is that now you will have another tool at your disposal. Working together, we can all help make Cooper-Young a less desirable playground for thugs and career criminals alike. Our goal, as stated in the recently submitted grant applications, is a 50 percent reduction in crime. But until there is some consensus as to how many kicked in back doors per month is acceptable, we will continue to work to bring that number to zero. — Aaron James

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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