CHARLEROI (KDKA) – Community leaders are joining forces to cut crime in Charleroi and the surrounding areas.
There are about 25 surveillance cameras around downtown Charleroi. Some are easy to spot, while others are hidden.
Another 25 to 30 will be installed soon thanks to $12,000 pulled together by a long list of local businesses and residents.
“To bring that to this town, out of your own pocket, when there are some many other things you can donate to, that just showed the importance that they want their town back too,” Charleroi Councilman Larry Celaschi said.
They want their town free of crime and drugs and they say the cameras can help do that.
The first round of high definition, digital cameras were installed less than a year ago and already they have proven valuable.
They have captured vandalism, different types of theft and burglary and drug deals happening right on the street.
With a smaller police department of just 17 full and part-time officers, Charleroi Police Chief Eric Porter said the cameras have provided lots of extra eyes.
All of the video streams directly into the police station.
“Our police cars can’t be everywhere and you’re sitting in there doing a report and you look and say, ‘Hey, there he is and he has a warrant.’ So, you radio down to the car and you go down and pick him up. We’ve had dozens of arrests already,” Chief Porter said.
Police expect that more cameras will lead to more arrests.
Each one is helping to return the Mon Valley to what it once was.
“You kind of get sick and tired of it and why we kind of took a stand and says, ‘I’m sorry, no, this isn’t going to happen.’ We’re going to rebrand this town,” Celaschi said.
The cameras aren’t just helping to cut down on crime on the streets of downtown Charleroi, but really throughout the Mon Valley.
There are cameras in places like Donora, Monessen, and North Charleroi as well and they’re being installed in Speers.
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