Syracuse residents ask city for more security cameras

May 20, 2014

The Syracuse Police Department says its network of security cameras in the city are helping fight crime. And some neighborhood advocates are asking for more.

Nearly 40 cameras have been installed in parts of the city since 2011. They’re on the Near Westside, in the Pioneer Homes complex and along Butternut Street on the north side.

Twenty more cameras will be online by the end of the summer, mostly downtown and along East Fayette Street.

Credit Mike Fleming / via Flickr

The camera footage is reviewed only during a criminal investigation and they’re paid for with grant money, according to the police department.

Lisa Robel lives on the north side, off of Butternut Street. She sees that corridor’s main intersection as the Alamo for keeping crime from spreading.

"Butternut has become increasingly dangerous. Even with the cameras, it has a ton of crime," she said. "It’s a main conduit; it’s where we have to make our stand."

Robel says she wants to see even more cameras.

Residents around Washington Square Park, also on the north side, told the chief of police and city councilors this week they want cameras in their neighborhood, too.

The park has become too dangerous for kids to play in and prostitution around the park is rampant, those residents said.

The police say they have a layout for cameras in place; they just need the funds.

The Syracuse Police Department would like to start using security cameras they can monitor in real time to spot criminal activity.

Police Chief Frank Fowler says cameras are another tool, not a replacement for cops on the street. But he says he thinks the city should start monitoring some cameras live.

Fowler says it’s same the same as an officer witnessing a crime.

"There’s no difference at all," Fowler said. "So, I think if we were to move to live monitoring, that would help us to use the cameras in a more proactive way and that way we would even further prevent crime," he said.

Fowler says that switch is something the city and residents would need to have a discussion about first. The Syracuse police say having cameras have helped them investigate and solve a number of crimes.