By Claire Byun
After an early June shooting at a Tulane Avenue “event center” left three people dead, neighbors have been working with police and city officials to stem the violence.
Now, with help of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization and the Mid-City Security District, Tulane Avenue-area residents will have even more access to security cameras. One of the biggest barriers for people adding security cameras to their homes, MCSD board member Houston Hoskins said, is the cost of installation.
While the cameras cost about $100, hardware and software installation can cost several hundred dollars. But, with a grant from MCNO, residents have the chance to stick surveillance at crime hotspots along Tulane Avenue.
“I’m very excited,” said Roux Merlo, Tulane Banks Neighborhood Association member, said. “I think it’s going to make a difference.”
MCNO received a $9,500 anti-crime camera grant in 2014, and a little more than $2,000 is still available, Jim Olsen, MCSD chair, said. Grant cameras must be registered through the city’s SafeCam NOLA project and must be available all day, every day.
Olsen said the district has been working for years to get cameras along the Tulane corridor. High installation costs have been a barrier, Olsen said, but MCSD has also seen genuine opposition to surveillance from some neighbors. After the shooting deaths of three people in June, however, cameras are a little more appealing.
TBNA met Tuesday to discuss security within its boundaries, where Olsen said a patrol car has been stationed for months. Before the June shooting – the most violent day in the city so far this year – several other shootings prompted TBNA members to improve neighborhood safety through any means.
Mallory LeBlanc, TBNA co-founder, said security district patrols give residents a little more peace of mind, especially when they roll through hotspots.
“They’re out there, and we’re making headway,” LeBlanc said.
While there aren’t as many officers on the street as Olsen prefers, the presence of a security district cuts down on some of the crime. MCSD officers are patrolling the Tulane corridor – and have been for months – though they do have an obligation to check on other parts of the district, too. Neighbors can help MCSD by calling 911 to report a crime – rather than directly calling the district – and install security cameras outside their homes.
“We have a population density of a much larger area, so it’s difficult to get everywhere,” Olsen said. “But we’re out there.”
To learn more about the security camera program, or to apply for one from the grant, visit mcno.org.