BALTIMORE — Select neighborhoods are getting some extra eyes to help patrol their streets should crime occur. By the end of November 12 new Citiwatch cameras will go online.
According to Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello, the project has been in the works for the past four years. Helping the project come to life were various community leaders in Federal Hill, Otterbein, and Sharp Leadenhall. The initiative was led by Joe Levy.
"The community recognizes the city is not going to police or surveil its way out of the crime problem," said Levy. "Causes need to be identified but in the meantime, people need to feel safe, visitors need to feel safe, people who do business and live here need to feel safe. This is one small part of helping people feel safe."
The project was largely funded by casino impact aid, with the final total for Phase 1 in excess of $600,000.
Costello tells WMAR-2 News there were numerous challenges to get Phase 1 of the project to completion including ongoing community engagement from multiple neighborhoods, coordinating multiple city agencies, installation of 17 blocks of new underground fiber optic cable, construction of 10 new utility poles, and securing funding over multiple years from multiple sources.
"Public Safety is a very complicated issue," said Costello. "There’s no panacea to resolve that issue so this is one piece but it is a deterrent. It’s also for the police department when it comes to investigating violent crimes."
As these cameras go live, community neighborhoods will be working with Baltimore City Police and other public safety agencies to assess the effectiveness of the cameras to both deter crime and assist law enforcement to hold criminals accountable.
The attached map illustrates locations for the Citiwatch cameras:
• Blue: Pre-existing Cameras. 12 Citiwatch cameras were operational prior to this project.
• Green: Phase 1 Cameras. 12 Citiwatch cameras that started going on-line in Fall 2020 and will all be operational by November 2020.
• Yellow: Phase 2 Cameras. 10 proposed locations of Citiwatch cameras -- locations are still TBD and are subject to additional funding.