An idea to map the crime cameras in the Mid-City Security District has grown into a project that may create a network of neighborhood homes and businesses with cameras that the district police could monitor, officials said Thursday.
Originally, security district officials began discussing a map of locations with crime cameras, so that police would quickly know where to look for surveillance footage in the event of a crime, said Commissioner Jody Waltz at the district’s Thursday night meeting.
That idea has since evolved, he said, into an online database — the “Virtual Neighborhood Watch” — that could allow real-time viewing.
Homes and businesses could install cameras, using their own Internet connections to bring down the overall cost of such a network, said commissioner Jim Olsen. By participating in the partnership, homeowners would get both greater security in the district overall and the opportunity to monitor their own home or business over the Internet.
The next step, Olsen said, is for the district to work through the legal considerations — from privacy issues to data encryption — of such a network. The commissioners voted to hire an attorney from the Adams and Reese law firm to discuss the legal considerations.
The district’s fund balance carried over from last year is about $1.2 million, money that Olsen said needs to be put toward improving security in the district. The Virtual Neighborhood Watch would likely be funded partially by the district, possibly a grant, and homeowners and business owners.
Commissioners present included Olsen, Waltz, Harley Winer and Ben Markey.
The meeting also included a review of crime statistics by NOPD Sgt. Sam Palumbo Sr., the district coordinator. Live coverage of the meeting can be viewed below.