Tag Archives: Savannah Morning News

Webcams: the new Crime Watch

Image: <a href=In an editorial for the Savannah Morning News, Police Chief Michael Berkow wrote:

We have a community problem here in Savannah. It’s called Armed Robbery…. Your police department cannot solve this problem alone; we need to attack this as a community…. But we need everyone’s help: from parents talking to their kids; to the schools; to the business community using good solid crime prevention techniques.

For its part, the SCMPD is “canceling or postponing” training and returning its administrative officers to the streets during the month of December. And yet, could the community do more?

The San Francisco Chronicle detailed AdamsBlock.com, a response by a private citizen to his own frustration with the crime in his Tenderloin neighborhood. Adam Jackson, a social media consultant, set up two 24-hour webcams to display drug deals, assaults, and other criminal activity, along with a chat room for viewers to discuss it. The site has become wildly popular, to the point where local businesses have donated equipment to improve it. And while Jackson plans to turn it into a fundraiser for local charities, the effect on law enforcement has been profound:

With people watching at all hours of the day and night, some of them have watched crimes taking place. Viewers picked up the phone and called 911, and the police arrived in no time flat.

The attention has had the same effect as saturation policing: some of the “regulars” have moved on, and other local businesses have set up their own cameras. Meanwhile, the newspaper reports, the 76 city-installed surveillance cameras remain ” mired with restrictions, regulations and red tape”–and with far less the quality of the private cameras.

Jackson, the article states, will help private residents in other high-crime areas set up their own cameras and websites. Could your community be one of them?

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