Akron board hears details of camera programs

DOWNTOWN AKRON – Akron City Council is exploring several programs to install cameras in the city to help fight crime.
At Akron City Council committee meetings on October 4, members heard two presentations regarding cameras and how they are used to fight crime.
The first presentation was from a project that City Councilor Nancy Holland (D-Ward 1) presented to Council earlier this year called Project NOLA. The association mounts cameras in cities at low cost and examines footage from its headquarters at the University of New Orleans. Bryan Lagarde, executive director of the NOLA project, said the nonprofit started about 10 years ago and is able to purchase cameras through donations and grants. He added that the cameras could be placed on homes, churches, businesses, schools or on poles.
According to the Project NOLA website, the nonprofit began working with residents and business owners in 2010 in the city of New Orleans to create an industry-funded community crime camera program. private, without receiving federal subsidies or local tax money. The installation of cameras reduced the murder rate in 2018 to the lowest since 1971 in the city, gun violence was reduced by 82% in one of the most dangerous areas and armed robberies throughout the city were reduced by 30%, according to the NOLA Project website. .
Lagarde said New Orleans currently has more than 5,000 cameras, which are not paid for by the city. He said that through the non-profit program, homeowners or business owners can purchase cameras and have them installed. He also said that local police departments are trained and have access to camera surveillance to check if a crime is happening near a camera. The NOLA project data center only stores images for 10 days, unless it is necessary for an investigation.
Largarde said there are several types of cameras that could be installed, including ones that can reach 360 degrees around her and also detect gunshots.
City Councilor Jeff Fusco (D-at large) said the program is worth continuing to discuss and explore.
The second presentation was made by Damon Daniel, President of AdHoc Group Against Crime, a Kansas City nonprofit. He said last year that a pilot program was launched to install 1,500 Ring video doorbell cameras in neighborhoods with high crime statistics. He added that the program was very successful.
Council President Margo Sommerville (D-Ward 3) said the presentations are just the start of discussions on reducing gun violence in the city. She added that conversations will continue in future meetings.
Also during committee meetings, council members continued their discussions regarding the $ 145 million the city is expected to receive under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). During last week’s meeting, several board members raised concerns about the legislation accepting the funding and the board’s role in deciding how the money is spent.
City officials made changes to the legislation, which several council members said they received 7 minutes before the meeting started. Sommerville said the city administration was not looking for passage right away and council members should take the time to review the legislation and ask questions.
City Councilor Shammas Malik (D-Ward 8) suggested that council hold budget hearings regarding how the money should be spent, and Sommerville responded that there would be community town halls to discuss how spend ARPA funding, including October 28 at noon and 6 p.m. details are expected to be announced shortly.
In the other cases, the Council approved:
• a conditional use permit to rebuild the Speedway gas station and convenience store at 2129 S. Main St;
• Agreements with local agencies to implement the Emergency Solutions Grants program for 2021, with funding being used to support local emergency and transitional homeless shelters to provide shelter and services support for homeless individuals and families;
• a resolution congratulating Akron RubberDucks team owner Ken Babby, general manager Jim Pfander and team managers and coaches for winning the 2021 North East League Double-A Championship Series;
• a contract to upgrade to LED lighting at the Akron water plant; and
• Accept a Federal Emergency Management Agency fire prevention and safety grant of approximately $ 67,000. Funding will be used for smoke detectors and fire safety education.
The Council will not meet on October 11 due to the federal holiday of Columbus Day. The board is scheduled to meet on October 18 for committee meetings starting at 1 p.m. and a regular meeting at 7 p.m., both meetings being conducted through the Zoom video conferencing app. The public can view the meetings on the Council’s YouTube page. For a link, visit www.akroncitycouncil.org.

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