NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some Central City residents will soon have crime cameras mounted on their homes, free of charge. It's part of a new initiative called Adopt A Block.
Pearl Smith says she's used to seeing crime take place in her Central City neighborhood. "They'll happen in a minute, and it's like they can't catch them, you know?" Smith explained.
Josephine and St. Andrew streets are among the biggest problem areas for the NOPD. That's why those two streets will be the first to receive the free cameras, thanks to the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation.
Larry Lane first came up with the idea. He's a volunteer with Safe Cams 8, the city service where people can register their surveillance cameras with the NOPD so detectives can quickly retrieve video. Right now, there are 2,200 cameras registered with Safe Cams NOLA citywide.
Lane explains, "About two-thirds of those are in the Eighth District, and I said to myself, how do we extend this program to other areas where people may not be able to afford systems by themselves?"
Lane turned to the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation. They loved the idea and started looking for donations. That's where Robert Riess comes in.
"The main goal of Millennial Spirits of New Orleans is to get our generation, the young adults, involved in preserving what's great about New Orleans, all the while improving what's inadequate," Riess explained.
Riess is chairman of the brand new non-profit. In March, the group held a fundraiser and raised $16,000 - enough to buy cameras for homeowners and businesses that may not have been able to afford them.
Riess explains, "Anything that happens within in that block, as long as they get enough residences and businesses to sign on, it can become safe."
While Central City is the focus now, Lane says the $16,000 will go a long way and can help other neighborhoods too. Down the line, the Police and Justice Foundation will seek more donations to keep the initiative going.
"The whole idea is you start with one block, and eventually you cover the whole neighborhood, and eventually you cover New Orleans," Lane said.
The Police and Justice Foundation is not only buying the cameras, but paying for their installation on homes and businesses. The first cameras are expected to go up in the next three weeks.