ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (KDKA) — People in one Beaver County neighborhood have recently noticed cameras going up around the area and wanted to know why.
KDKA learned the City of Aliquippa has been installing cameras over the past six months, Aliquippa Police Chief John Lane confirmed. Right now, there are about 36 cameras placed near major intersections.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Reports 5,071 New Cases, 34 Additional Deaths
The chief called this partnership with Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier and several other law enforcement agencies a “positive step” toward tackling crime and increasing protection for the people who live in the area.
“If we can get the shooters and drug dealers off the streets, make them change their behavior, let citizens rest easy at night, that’s our goal,” said Lozier.
Lozier said he and several other local DAs have been doing this as part of a five-county crackdown on major crimes, hoping rates go down when the cameras go up.
“These are cameras that read a license plate as a car passes an intersection. We’re putting those in major intersections for the purpose of catching criminals after a major crime,” said Lozier.
More than 1,000 cameras are being installed near roughly 200 intersections across the region. In Beaver County, the cameras currently occupy about 30 intersections in almost a dozen communities, including Aliquippa, Chippewa, Beaver Falls and New Brighton.
“The camera can now identify the color, make, model of the vehicle’s license plate and maybe a bumper sticker on the back,” said Lozier. “I know Chippewa has solved a number of hit-and-run accidents, robberies, bank robbers, we’ve had homicide individuals.”READ MORE: Steelers Remind Fans To Download Mobile Tickets Before Arriving To Sunday's Game
Chief Lane told KDKA the cameras in his area started being installed on Broadhead Road and have since gone up near schools and some high-crime sections of the city.
KDKA spotted cameras on a silver pole near the 1200 block of Sheffield Avenue, which people who frequent the area said were recently installed.
“Anyone who doesn’t want extra security is obviously doing something,” said Kenneth Crumb.
According to Lane, police call volumes have gone down significantly since the cameras were installed, dropping 50 percent over the past several months. Lane said the cameras cost about $650 apiece.
Both Lane and Mayor Dwan Walker assured KDKA that these cameras are not being funded through taxpayer dollars. Instead, old drug money might be paying for them.
“In most municipalities, we’re using our drug forfeiture funds, where I pay for a portion and the municipality pays for a portion. Sometimes, a local business will pay for part of the installation cost,” said Lozier.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Reports 332 New Cases
While the cameras will not stop crime altogether, Chief Lane said he hopes this gives residents and business owners an added sense of security.