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Port Richmond Clean-Up Effort Bolstered by New Surveillance System

Published by Dan on February 28, 2007 10:59 AM

Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood has its fare share of problems -- drugs, prostitution, muggings, and the curious refusal of any resident to properly deposit garbage in cans. Needless to say, business owners in the area have a hard time succeeding.

There is hope for a turnaround though, thanks to a recently installed video surveillance system funded by a group of about 65 local industrial companies. The system, which cost $120,000, features high-tech cameras that identify suspicious activity throughout the one-square-mile neighborhood. The surveillance cameras are capable of photographing faces and license plates from a distance, and can even stream video directly to police cruiser computers.

It's all part of a committed effort to improve an area that has seen a good number of manufacturing companies skip town in recent years. Business owners are hoping that crime will drop significantly once word of the new surveillance system spreads.

Based on a more elaborate video surveillance system in New Orleans, the Port Richmond setup features a number of surveillance camera locations each containing two cameras. The first camera scours for abnormal activity and motion. Once it detects something unusual, an alarm sounds and the second camera photographs the action. Email alerts, complete with images, are then sent to local police who can assess the situation and take action if warranted.

The people of Port Richmond are hoping that the new high-tech video surveillance system, along with substantial cleanup efforts in the area, will lead to significant improvements in their community. In an area that has hit rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up, and video surveillance will play a crucial role in this rebuilding project.

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