PLEASANTVILLE — Police will have a closer eye on activities in the city’s downtown thanks to a handful of newly installed surveillance cameras.
The cameras, paid for by a portion of a $250,000 grant the city received earlier this year for technology upgrades, are strategically placed in heavily trafficked areas throughout the city, particularly along Main Street, and connect to large monitors inside the Police Department.
“Instead of having to wait for someone to call our dispatchers to report an incident or suspicious activity, we’ll be constantly monitoring these locations and will be able to respond as soon as we notice something out of the ordinary,” Acting Chief Jose Ruiz, Sr. said.
Ruiz said the cameras can monitor activities from a few blocks away.
“We can rotate them, tilt them, zoom them in and out. ... We are really fortunate, as a small town, to be able to have these kind of capabilities,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said the cameras were installed as part of the city’s recently enhanced efforts to increase safety downtown, which also includes the hiring of a security firm to monitor the city’s newly refurbished bus station.
“Main Street is our main thoroughfare, and with all of the development taking place nearby, like the City Center project, we want people to feel as safe as possible here,” Ruiz said. “We have some (people) who occasionally do negative things. But as whole, Pleasantville is really a quaint community, with really good people, and we want to protect that.”
Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. said cameras are a welcome addition to the city’s streets.
“People are going to know we’re serious about protecting our residents and visitors to this city,” said Tweedle, adding the city is also trying to reinstate its auxiliary police program. “When I travel to cities like Washington and Philadelphia, and see cameras like this, it makes me feel secure because they care enough to watch this area.”
City resident Kwamaine Key called the installation of the cameras “a good idea.”
“The streets can pretty busy around 11 p.m.,” said Key, 20, while standing near the camera affixed to a streetlight on the corner of Main Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue on Saturday. “If the cameras can keep people safe, then I’m glad they’re there. And hopefully more people will feel comfortable visiting our downtown with them there.”
That is the end goal, officials said.
“I want people to feel safe and secure in our city,” Tweedle said. “This is only the beginning.”
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