Officials Hoping New Surveillance Cameras Will Deter Crime On South Side

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It seems like there are surveillance cameras up and down East Carson Street on the South Side.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced Thursday the addition of 13 new ones between 13th and 18th Streets, cameras that will have the ability to “live stream” to an app or be recorded for later use by police.

“The cameras give me real-time, and I can make decisions that evening, or, more importantly, detectives can make decisions about whether or not a crime has been committed,” Zappala told business owners Thursday morning.

The new cameras were added to an existing fleet of 220 cameras across the county.

The new cameras have a higher resolution for better pictures, can shoot down side streets, and even pick up on license plate numbers. Cameras that fit the growing need to deter nuisance crimes.

“This is Carson Street, it’s commercial, transient entertainment, and most of these guys are very responsible business people,” said Zappala.

Police won’t actually monitor the live streams on a regular basis, but officers will be able to respond to an exact location when something does happen and the system will save all recorded videos for 30 days.

Zappala met with local business leaders and elected officials for input on the new options.

Daniel McSwiggen, who owns a restaurant on Carson Street, said, “I’m cautiously optimistic, but I like the fact that if there’s an incident, it can be responded to very quickly.”

City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith wants to see how the city and the county can work together since they both have cameras on Carson Street.

“I think it is a savings to the residents, and I think we have to check it against our ordinances to see if we have some protections, and so I want to see those things in place before have any partnership,” she said.

Earlier this month, Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Department released plans to spend $5 million to upgrade and add cameras. It would be a three-year contract to upgrade, maintain or replace many of the city’s 225 cameras. The city hopes to buy and maintain 75 new cameras.

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