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Of crime and cameras

Posted by Elwin Green on April 17, 2013 at 2:30 AM

In response to last week's outbreak of gun violence, Homewood's Councilman, the Rev. Ricky V. Burgess, has hastened the submission of legislation to combat crime with cameras.

Tuesday, Councilman Burgess proposed that the City install up to a dozen "ShotSpotters," surveillance cameras with the ability to swivel 360 degrees and pinpoint the location of gunfire within seconds of shots being fired.

The Post-Gazette's report is here.

The Tribune-Review story is here.

The stories leave me confused about something. The Trib says Councilman Burgess wants to "purchase up to a dozen cameras for about $1 million," then later says, "He introduced legislation this year to lease them for $150,000 annually." Does that mean Councilman Burgess introduced legislation earlier this year to lease the cameras, but now wants the City to buy them? If so, did he give a reason for the change?

The PG's report doesn't mention leasing - it says the new legislation "would authorize up to $1 million to install surveillance cameras," then says "The legislation to purchase the $150,000 system is still pending."

I'll try to get clarity on that. Meanwhile, whether we're talking about buying or leasing, what do you think of the basic idea of installing ShotSpotters in Homewood?

(UPDATE, 4/17/13, 8:28 a.m. - Councilman Burgess's chief of staff, Shawn Carter, explained via email that Burgess proposed leasing the gunshot detection equipment in February; yesterday's proposal would authorize $1 million to purchase cameras to go along with the "ShotSpotters.")

Categories: Public Safety, Citizenship and Governance

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Reply PDavis
7:26 PM on April 18, 2013 
Mixed feelings about lease vs. purchase. Purchasing is typically cheaper but is final. I don't understand the explanation given by Shawn Carter. If you're leasing the detection equipment, why would you purchase the cameras? Either everything is leased or everything is purchased -- that's my opinion.
Reply Shawn Carter
10:49 PM on April 18, 2013 
Hi, Paulette:

The reason the gunshot detection equipment is now leased is because SST, Inc. changed their business model from purchase to a subscription-based services. It is legally a lease, but in reality, the City will be purchasing a subscription service. It is more cost-effective from the City's standpoint, and that is how they do it now.

I hope that helps.
Reply Elwin Green
7:02 PM on April 19, 2013 
Thanks, Mr. Carter!
Reply Ellie
1:04 PM on July 26, 2013 
Another solution is what NYC has been successful with - STOP & FRISK. While inconvenient for the innocent, the guilty have gotten nabbed and guns off the street.

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