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Mobile camera unit may be used to deter crime in St. Louis

by Diana Zoga

KMOV.com

Posted on February 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 27 at 8:32 PM

Starting Wednesday, a mobile surveillance camera unit will show up in some St. Louis city neighborhoods, in effort to deter crime. While parts of the city already employ the use of fixed surveillance cameras, this unit can be moved around to target different areas.

Sixth Ward Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett says the surveillance unit will first be used at the corner of Michigan and Magnolia.

"This is a great neighborhood. We have great housing stock, we have a lot of amenities right here in this neighbhorhood, but we have some problem corners and we're working to address them," said Triplett.

 The owner of the surveillance camera unit is offering the use of one, for free. Keith Jackson of Columbia, IL-based 24/7 On-Site Cameras said he read about Tripletts efforts to combat crime in the 6th ward and e-mailed her to offer help.

Jackson typically rents out the use of units on construction sites. A unit is currently in use at the St. Louis City library renovation site, downtown. Jackson said that on any given day, he has at least one unit that is not in use and he's willing to allow the city borrow one.

Four cameras are mounted at the top of a mobile unit and can record video in the dark, said Jackson. The cameras will record constantly. Triplett said she may recruit neighborhood watch members to take turns monitoring the cameras, live. The video stream can be accessed on a laptop or computer, with the proper passwords.

St. Louis Police say they've been in touch with Triplett and support the efforts.

Triplett said the cameras will not be used with the intention of peering into homes. She said the units would be placed on public right of ways. She also said the city supported the idea.

"The security cameras are not a pancea to dealing with all crime. This is just another tool in the tool box," said Triplett.

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