DC adds 140 police cameras to areas seeing uptick in crime

D.C. neighborhoods plagued by crime will soon have more eyes on the streets.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $5 million investment Monday to expand the District’s crime camera network by 70%. As early as next week, installation of at least 140 security cameras will begin in Wards 1, 5, 7 and 8, Bowser said.

“We regard this as another tool in our toolbox for fighting crime and making neighborhoods safer,” she said at a news conference.

The cameras will be placed in areas identified by the Fall Crime Initiative as hot spots where there’s been an uptick in crime.

Area police commanders — as well as the locations of gunshots detected using Shot Spotter technology — will help police determine exactly where to place the white cameras.

The initiative meant more officers, increased outreach and a focus on repeat offenders in various D.C. neighborhoods, including Southwest, the U Street corridor, Columbia Heights, Shaw, Saratoga, Greenway, Washington Highlands and Congress Heights.

“We’re going to identify public spaces on housing authority property to also install new cameras and new lighting,” Bowser said.

The District has used closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras since 2001. In 2006, D.C. police began setting them up in neighborhoods. There are now 205 CCTV cameras in the District, police Chief Peter Newsham said.

Video evidence made a difference in solving 40% of homicides last year, he said.

“They have higher-resolution images, additional memory space, and if Shot Spotter detection [is] nearby, it will allow us to automatically shift the view of the camera to the sound of the gunshots,” Newsham said.

Bowser said she plans to consult D.C. Council members about the camera program.

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