FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Warren Hobbs still remembers growing up in Fort Worth’s Historic Stop Six neighborhood.
“It was peaceful because everybody was watching everybody,” Hobbs says.
But in a matter of weeks, cameras will be watching. They will be mounted on light poles, sitting above high crime spots in Fort Worth. Also, police are not trying to keep them covert. The cameras will only be installed in public places.
“We want the criminals to know that they are there. If they choose to commit a crime in that area, they’ll be captured on video,” says Sergeant Marc Povero, Public Information Officer with the Fort Worth Police Department.
He likens the high-tech camera that offers close to a 360-degree view, to having a patrol car in your neighborhood.
“We have officers who will be in a command center, that can actually manipulate these cameras and can look around in real time to see what’s going on in a neighborhood.”
The goal is to deter crime. If a crime is committed, the cameras will be used to document evidence.
“Fabulous! We pay taxes so we want to see where they’re going,” says long-time resident Lisa Love.
She hopes the technology will send a loud message to criminals.
“Time to move on! Go somewhere else,” she says.
The city council approved that $986,000 from the police department’s budget be used to purchase the cameras. Grants will also contribute to the investment of 179 cameras.
Stop Six will likely see them first. It is part of an ongoing city effort to revitalize the community.
Public safety has been a priority for Stop Six’s revitalization. City leaders have also focused on beatification of the historic area. Love says she’s starting to see some of the improvements.
“We’re getting a lot of code compliance (officers) out walking — two or three on a block.”
There are skeptics of the new mobile surveillance camera initiative. Some wondered whether the cameras would actually deter crime. Others make comparisons to “Big Brother” watching.
“If you don’t have anything to hide. you shouldn’t worry about it,” said Love.
“Just a lot of fighting. hearing gunshots — that’s scary,” says Jazie Cramei, a mother of two.
With four schools in the immediate area, parents welcome the technology.
“It will feel safer, that way the police will find out who is doing wrong.”
The first 40 cameras are arriving in the next few of weeks. Police plan to install them in high crime areas around the city.