The Prince George’s County Council will consider a measure that would offer rebates to county residents who that buy and maintain security cameras outside their homes. The measure would also subsidize businesses’ costs to purchase cameras.
After a few amendments suggested by the county police department, the council’s Health, Human Services and Public Safety committee passed the measure, sending it to the full council.
The brief hearing on the proposal included testimony from Juanita Agnew, whose 13-year-old son Jayz was shot and killed outside her home in Temple Hills last November as he raked leaves in the yard.
“We felt safe,” Agnew said. “We felt a sense of safety on our little street in Temple Hills, and we didn’t see the need to have cameras.”
She said the other reason they didn’t have cameras was the cost.
Unfortunately for her and the police investigating her son’s killing, no one else nearby had any cameras, either. Her son’s killer remains at large.
“Everyone wants to know, ‘What about cameras?’” Agnew said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow as a mom when you think about Prince George’s County Police Department depending on residents’ cameras to solve a crime.”
Under the proposal from committee chair Krystal Oriadha, residents could get back up to $200 for a camera, with a limit of two cameras, and another $100 to help cover the cost of a subscription, so the recorded video is saved.
“One of the issues is the retention of the footage,” Oriadha said. “You might have someone who gets a camera, but if they can’t afford the subscription cost, then they don’t record the information.”
It was also pointed out that cameras could also help deter and catch those who dump trash and other items illegally along the side of county roads.
Oriadha said the goal is to keep the pilot program within the cost of about $100,000 to $250,000 in the first year, a price tag that council chair Tom Dernoga described as “eminently doable.”
“The cameras can help in so many different areas,” Agnew said. “This will be a benefit for all of us.”