Friday, January 8, 2010

WCRX-LP Editorial collective asks "Video cameras to reduce property theft?"

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Does Bexley need more video cameras as a deterrent to petty property theft?

In a recent broadcast interview with Bexley police chief Larry Rinehart, Bexley Public Radio senior correspondent John Matuszak asked about property theft in Bexley. The chief reported that during calendar year 2008, there were more than six hundred property thefts in Bexley. In the Monday morning Dispatch newspaper, the chief is quoted as describing Bexley as "a city in peril" because of this property crime.

A two hundred dollar bicycle stolen from a Bexley garage isn't a peril for the city but the editorial collective understands the chief's point.

Six hundred thefts, mostly petty thefts, is a large number for sure but not significantly different from the property crime frequencies in Dublin, Gahanna, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington.

For sure, the dollar value of stolen Bexley property is greater than these other suburbs because, well, it's a matter of quality and taste.

Sperling’s Best Places publishes crime rates in American cities on a scale of one (low) to ten. Dublin, Gahanna, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington are rated at eight and Bexley alone is rated at nine. Still all of these communities including Bexley are in the same fourth statistical quartile.

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If the average theft involves stolen property valued at $500, there is an economic impact of $300,000 each year on Bexley residents. If the average is $2,000, then the impact is $1.2 million. If damage to door frames and windows averages $1,100, there is an additional $660,000 in economic loss to residents in the community.

Those dollar amounts help to set a range for how much money might be spent prudently to respond to the problem of property theft.

Equipment needs might be eighteen network digital recorders (at $900 each), one thousand infra-red digital night video cameras ($700 each), connecting cables for each camera and installation ($350 each) for a total of $1,066,800. Operations, staffing and repairs will add another $180,000 each year. AEP, Verizon and AT&T will want some compensation when the best camera location is on a utility pole.

Bexley police chief Larry Rinehart is promoting the formation of neighborhood block-watch teams in response to the number of property crimes suffered by Bexley residents.

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The Bexley Public Radio editorial collective wonders whether neighborhood block-watch volunteers can be assisted by video cameras.

Currently, video cameras are used in some Bexley retail stores, banks and residences. Should video cameras be installed in all commercial locations in Bexley? Should video cameras be required at all residences?

Should the city install cameras in all of the alleys and along all of the streets?

How should installation be prioritized? Does the Bexley police department analyze property theft by location? Does the police department know which neighborhoods have the highest frequency of property theft? Should frequency of theft be used to prioritize installation?

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Does the police department know how many businesses and residences use video cameras? Does the police department have a map of Bexley that shows what views are currently recorded. Banks, CVS and carry-out convenience sores obviously use video cameras currently.

Should Bexley adopt saturation coverage by digital video cameras as part of its response to unacceptable levels of property theft?

Do Bexley residents really want video cameras recording vehicular and pedestrian movement in the neighborhoods? What happens to privacy in our neighborhoods? Is this too much a Big Brother proposal?

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Who should own the cameras, computers and discs recording digital data? Should the city own them?. Should the property insurers that carry the property risks in Bexley own the equipment? Should a Bexley property owner cooperative be formed to own the equipment? Should ownership be on a block by block basis?

Installing video cameras everywhere in Bexley sounds like a good stimulus public infra-structure program.

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This WCRX-LP editorial collective comment was first published February 15, 2009.

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Design is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Editorial collective.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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