Jun 172013

(image via projectnola.com)

In what may be the most ambitious plan to use security cameras to fight crime anywhere in the city, the Broadmoor Improvement Association has set a goal of installing 100 cameras around the neighborhood by the end of the year.

The high-definition cameras would be linked into the Project NOLA anti-crime network, which uses volunteers to monitor public police radio channels and live video feeds from private cameras to find footage of crime suspects in real-time. Led by former NOPD officer Bryan Lagarde, Project NOLA checks all cameras in the vicinity of a major crime for images of possible suspects, and sends them to police officers as they are investigating.

“Lagarde has collaborated with the Algiers Point neighborhood and there are currently 70 cameras located there,” according to a blog post about the project at the Broadmoor Improvement Association website. “He said that in one incident, because there were so many cameras, Project NOLA was able to follow a possible perpetrator from the scene of the crime to his house, nine blocks away.”

No images are released to the public unless NOPD detectives are seeking help identifying suspects, and Project NOLA handles court testimony to verify the footage so homeowners don’t have to, Lagarde says in his presentations to neighborhood groups.

The cameras cost $295 to purchase and $150 to install, for a total cost of $445 through ProjectNOLA, though residents can also purchase and install cameras on their own and link them to ProjectNOLA if they prefer. The only requirement is an active Internet connection at the home.

The crime-camera initiative has been strongly supported by City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who has awarded grants to support the purchase and installation of cameras through Project NOLA to both Broadmoor for the intersection of Washington and Broad and to the Freret business group for the surrounding neighborhood.

“Public safety is a main concern for our neighborhoods and I am trying to support ideas and initiatives driven by residents that will improve their quality of life by taking a proactive approach,” Cantrell wrote in a recent email to Uptown Messenger. “Crime cameras on private property have been very effective at deterring and capturing criminals.”

The next neighborhood Cantrell plans to award a grant to, she said, is the Irish Channel.

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