The City of Allentown and City Center Investment Corporation announced a partnership today to replace or add a total of 14 surveillance cameras along Hamilton and Linden streets and the Allentown Artswalk.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski and City Center Cofounder and President J.B. Reilly made the announcement during a news conference on Allentown’s Center Square.
Through the partnership, City Center will donate $150,000 for the city to replace eight of its seven-year-old surveillance cameras along Hamilton and Linden streets with more powerful, high-definition versions and add three new high-definition surveillance cameras along the Artswalk. The city will cover the cost of placing three additional surveillance cameras on Center Square, bringing the total of new high-definition surveillance cameras in Allentown to 14. The eight cameras being replaced on Hamilton and Linden streets will be used elsewhere, allowing the Allentown Police Department to expand the camera network to areas outside of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone.
Like the city’s existing 130 surveillance cameras, the new cameras will be monitored by employees at the Allentown Communications Center. Through the partnership, the city will cover the cost of the network infrastructure to allow City Center’s security provider, AlliedBarton Security Services, to also monitor the three new cameras on the Artswalk.
“City Center is committed to helping create a safe and secure environment for our tenants, staff, visitors and the community,” Reilly said. “We want people to feel comfortable downtown, so in addition to City Center’s sophisticated security program led by AlliedBarton, we’re pleased to help add the latest surveillance technology to our neighborhood to increase situational awareness among our own security officers and the Allentown Police Department. City Center is proud that our gift will also allow several cameras to be repurposed to benefit other neighborhoods in Allentown.”
The city installed its first 12 surveillance cameras in 2007 along Hamilton Street, adding more cameras every year to form today’s 130-camera network throughout the city. The city has seen a 20 percent drop in violent crimes and burglaries in areas near the cameras, and Allentown’s graffiti problem has diminished by almost 90 percent. Camera operators regularly monitor and record activity in public areas and also monitor particular areas in response to emergency calls to the Comm Center.
“The cameras are a very effective part of Allentown’s overall crime-fighting strategy,” said Pawlowski. “They are one of many tools we use to enhance public safety. It will continue to be our policy to give our citizens our maximum preventive, investigative and enforcement effort. We will continue to do everything we can to make things uncomfortable for lawbreakers,” the mayor added.
“The combination of these surveillance cameras and our strong police presence on the street has proven to be an effective deterrent of crime,” said Allentown Assistant Chief of Police Keith Morris. ”Dispatchers who see something on the cameras can send an officer out immediately, effectively stopping a crime in its tracks. If a crime has already occurred, the camera footage becomes an invaluable tool for identifying potential suspects and assisting in locating crucial evidence.”
The cameras will be installed by Allentown-based company Communication Systems Inc., the security technology integrator for both the City of Allentown and City Center Lehigh Valley. The new cameras will be installed at these locations:
• 6th & Hamilton St. N
• 6th & Hamilton St. S
• 8th & Hamilton St. N
• 8th & Hamilton St. S
• 9th & Hamilton St.
• 10th & Hamilton St.
• 8th & Linden St.
• 6th & Linden St.
• 7th & Hamilton St. (2)
• 7th & Walnut St.
• 5th & Court St.
• Emery & Court St.
• Miller Symphony Hall & Law St.