The District of Columbia is planning to install at least 140 new CCTV security cameras in high-crime neighborhoods for $5 million, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday.
There are currently around 200 security cameras in the city. With the addition of new ones, the Metropolitan Police Department is expected to better deal with increasing crimes.
The new cameras will have upgraded technology and larger storage capabilities, according to a report by ABC7.
“We’re in Ward 5 announcing a $5 million public safety investment to expand the D.C. Police Department’s crime camera network, which helps prevent crime in the District,” Mayor Bowser said during Monday’s press conference.
“What we have seen over the many months what cameras do when and if there is a crime in a neighborhood, how that footage can be used by police and police detectives to solve crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Bowser also mentioned the “deterrent effect” of CCTV cameras on the streets.
LIVE: We’re in Ward 5 announcing a $5 million public safety investment to expand @DCpoliceDept's crime camera network, which helps prevent crime in the District. #SaferStrongerDC https://t.co/V29yRfiBkQ
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) November 25, 2019
“We regard this as another tool in our toolbox for fighting crime and making neighborhoods safer across the District of Columbia,” the mayor added.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham, who spoke at the event, also emphasized that the videos obtained from these cameras were essential in solving crimes.
“The use of camera technology plays a vital role in deterring and solving crimes, including some of our most significant violent offenses. I personally believe it’s one of the advances in technology that has been most significant in helping law enforcement,” Newsham said.
Last year, video footage was available in 83 percent of homicide investigations, which represents 132 out of the 160 cases in total, according to Newsham. The police chief noted that in 70 percent of those, the video was instrumental to the investigation, helping to solve 40 percent of the incidents. In 2019, the city has seen 152 homicides so far.
The District has the CCTV program in place since 2001. Five years later, it expanded from downtown into areas with high crime rates.