St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and Alderman Ken Ortmann announced plans to install new security cameras in the 9th Ward in south St. Louis. The 20 cameras and 16 license plate readers will be tied into the police department's Real Time Crime Center.
Chief Dotson said, "Certainly it catches a crime that occurs but it's also a tremendous investigative tool that we can use to say, between 2:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m., who was in this neighborhood."
The cameras will cost $436,000 and be paid for with the Ortmann's alderman's money Ortmann saved over time, from funds provided to aldermen each year for projects in their wards. He also worked with police to decide where the cameras will be placed.
"Kind of the locations they've been put on were the busiest locations, you know where there are more problems," said Ortmann.
The cameras will cover portions of the Benton Park, Benton Park West, Marine Villa, Mount Pleasant and Gravois Park neighborhoods as well as the southern portion of the Soulard neighborhood.
The cameras have a lot of support from business owners and neighborhood organizations.
Scott McIntosh with the Benton Park Neighborhood Association said, "Our residents feel like this is going to create a more safe neighborhood because there's something else to deter crime other than knowing there are people who care."
Dotson said there are now more than 500 cameras that are connected to the Real Time Crime Center. And since the center opened about two years ago, Dotson said the cameras have directly led to 303 arrests and the recovery of 143 stolen vehicles and 29 firearms.
Traffic Commissioner Deana Venker, who was also at the announcement, said the city plans to install 200 traffic cameras this year which will also be linked to the Real Time Crime Center. She said the city already has 100 traffic cameras.
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