NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A Lakeview neighborhood watch group is hoping to spark a program that would introduce live crime camera monitoring as a crime fighting tool.
"We're asking for people that have existing cameras to join the network and it's only $15 a month per camera to get it sent to storage and then back to a monitoring station," said Gino Ascani, who heads up Lakeview Citizen Watch.
During a meeting Tuesday evening at Lakeview Harbor, Ascani pitched the idea to a couple dozen residents, asking them to connect their cameras to the proposed network that would be hosted through ProjectNOLA.
"We're gonna get the cameras on as many people's houses that have cameras. We're gonna get as much footage as we can as far as live monitoring, and hopefully we catch something," Ascani said.
Ascani hopes that by using volunteers initially to watch the live feeds during the overnight hours, the group can prove that the system will work by alerting police if they see someone up to no good. The effort could help police catch criminals in the act rather than reviewing footage after the crime occurs.
Loyola University criminologist George Capowich said the program has promise if it's implemented properly.
"The research suggests that if you do it right, they are a good tool," Capowich said. "Placing them based on good knowledge of what the crime trends are and where they're concentrated is an essential first step. If you don't place them in the right locations, then everything else isn't going to help that much."
Capowich added that live monitoring is an important part of making cameras effective as well as a database that allows police to easily find and access cameras near potential crime locations.
For residents, that potential is enough to get their cameras on the network.
"I think if someone is able to monitor and they may not necessarily see something going on at my house, but perhaps it would help a neighbor or help somebody in the neighborhood itself. That's the thing, it comes back with a burglary and they look back and try to find information. This may help prevent crime, it may help solve crime and that's why I'm willing to put our cameras on the system," Lakeview resident Karson Kall said.
Ascani said the Lakeview Civic Association is already helping by contributing $1,800 to the effort. He asks anyone who wants to be a part of the program to contact the group through their Facebook page.