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Columbus Installs Neighborhood Cameras In Weinland Park Area

Another Columbus neighborhood is being watched by overhead cameras. Mayor Michael Coleman and Public Safety officials looked on as a new surveillance cam was installed at Eleventh and North Fourth in the Weinland Park area.  The public cameras are part of a crime fighting effort. Mayor Coleman says  the city is in the midst of installing 114 cameras in five neighborhoods . "I think after this pilot we'll get a good feel  about what communities  think about them. But we're only putting these cameras in areas that want them right now." Says Coleman. Weinland Park is the third city neighborhood to get the cameras this year.  Coleman says real time images are being monitored at police substations so officers  can quickly respond to possible crimes. "So, whenever there's an incident, incident, the folks at the police station are able to immediately send the police to an incident just by observing it on the screen, simply by observing it on the camera." The mayor says its too early to tell whether the presence of cameras in a neighborhood deter crime.  While Weinland park cameras are just being installed, A west side neighborhood has  had the cameras in place for several months. And early results and reaction are mostly  positive. Tim Wallen walks through the Sullivant-Clarenden intersection, underneath a city camera, almost daily to visit his parents several block away. He welcomes the increased surveillance. "I like the idea. I think its a deterrence to violence, a deterrence for the drugs, a deterrence for theft." Wallen says. "There's actually been arrests made from these corners here. The one next down on Whitethorne, the next one up on Highland there have been arrests made for drug sales, prostitution. I think its a good idea." Angela Kaiser  is walking across the street  looking for affordable housing in the Sullivant Avenue area. She says the cameras keeping watch over the neighborhood make her feel safer. "Like I said, I'm a single mother." Says Kaiser. "So I wouldn't have a man with me, to protect me,  and that if the cops are watching or that can be recorded that, you know, if anything would happen I would feel better that the person who did it would be caught." But,  Patrick Mann, who lives less than a block away from Sullivant and Clarendon says its too soon to tell the effects of surveillance cameras.  He says he still sees a lot of what he calls "riff-raff" and a lot of theft in the neighborhood. "Pretty rough area. There's a lot of crime and stuff like that. Little bit of everything, drugs, you name it. Its all out here. Q) So, how do you cope all the time?  (Mann) "Just take it day to day and hope they don't steal what you got." Back at 11th and 4th,  Weinland Park resident Sheron Colbert watched  as the new camera was mounted on a utility pole.  While Colbert welcomes  the city's effort he says the key to combating crime will be whether  police officers effectively respond to what they see. You can watch all day, you can watch, you can watch. But, you know, hopefully we actually get some reaction out here and crime cuts down." Says Colbert. The city will spend $2,000,000 from its capital improvements budget to install a total of 114 cameras, including 27 cameras in the Weinland Park area. Later the city will mount cameras in Linden and in a  Near East side neighborhood. Tom Borgerding WOSU News