Mid-City Security District addresses crime camera complaints

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After a woman is grazed in the head by a bullet in Mid-City some in the community are questioning why there aren't more surveillance cameras. The question is being posed to the security district, who has a million dollars sitting in it's coffers.

Mid-City Business Association President Josef Wright says there should've been surveillance cameras up in the 4400 block of Banks Street. "What we hear is one excuse after another, one roadblock after another, so I'm tired of it," said Wright.

Police say a robbery occurred on Banks Friday around 11:00 p.m. In the process, a woman was grazed in the head by a bullet. "I just don't think that a criminal would say, well, I'm gonna take a chance on going to jail for all those years, knowing there's cameras in this area," Wright commented.

The Mid-City Security District has spent a year looking into putting up 30 cameras on homes in that neighborhood. Residents and businesses pay yearly fees to the district. Right now, it has a little over a million dollars in it's coffers. It's money that could be used for the cameras.

Jim Olsen, chairman of security district says, "It's taken longer than we expected, there's no question about that, but we've run into several little hurdles on it."

First, the security district tried to develop it's own software for the cameras but that fell through. Now, it's going to start a public bid process but Olsen admits that won't happen overnight. "It will be probably in the next couple of months. We're working on a package to get it out to various vendors to get a quote on it," Olsen said.

Roux Merlo says he's been inundated with complaints from residents about the lack of cameras. As quality of life director for the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, he's pushed the security district for months for some sort of development. "We've tried to be persistent and follow up with some type of program but it just hasn't taken off," Merlo said.

With frustration mounting, Olsen promises he and the four other commissioners are working on the issue. "It's public money, its public funds, we're being very conservative with how we spend that and we want to make sure we're doing it the right way," Olsen explained.

Wright hopes the cameras go up soon, so future crimes might be prevented.

The business association has itself put up about 40 cameras along the Tulane Avenue corridor, purchased with donations. Wright says business owners report the cameras are helping to determine crime in that area.

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