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Columbus Crime Cameras Coming Soon

Evelyn Van-Til is getting used to crime in her neighborhood. Her house, that's just a block from Weinland Park, near Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue, was burglarized three times this summer. She says:

"My neighbor's got broken into five times this summer; my other neighbor got broken into three times this summer," Van-Til says.

Van-Til listened as Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman announced that Weinland Park is one of five neighborhoods in the city where surveillance cameras will be installed. Coleman says eventually more than one-hundred cameras will be recording 24-hours a day. During what he calls "peak crime hours," a city worker will actively monitor live feeds.

"We have to put the bad guys in jail. We have to get a handle on these homicides. We have to get a handle on drug dealing, and gun dealing, and shooting, and killing, and criminal activity. We're going to use these cameras to get at these problems and situations," Coleman says.

In addition to Weinland Park, South Linden, the Hilltop, Mt. Vernon and Livingston Avenue will also have video surveillance. The security system will cost between two and two-and-a-half million dollars.

This is the first of its kind in the city. Mayor Coleman acknowledged that most of these areas are residential and protecting ones privacy is a concern. But he says there will be signs to alert people where there are cameras, and also computer software will blur out windows and doorways of homes.

"Privacy is very important, and we get that and understand that, but we have to put the bad guys in jail," Coleman says.

Still, resident Aaron Coleman, who's not related to the mayor, says cameras won't stop crime.

"I mean what the cameras gunna do? You can only see so much on the camera, right? I mean just like they put em up, there's always a way to get around it. You know what I'm saying? It's common sense. I mean you let them know they putting them up. Guess what, they're going to find another avenue," Coleman says.

Mayor Coleman expects the first cameras will be installed this winter, and video surveillance will begin in the late Spring.

Jen Monroe, WOSU News.