Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Six years ago, surveillance video in the city started as an experiment to cut crime. But a new study shows it’s working in Baltimore.
Gigi Barnett explains why.
Each computer inside Baltimore’s hidden Citiwatch surveillance room is connected to a camera outside. Since 2005, they’ve been the city’s eye in the sky, and a new study released this week shows crime cameras work.
“It’s nice to have a national study by an independent entity that demonstrates that the cameras, particularly being actively monitored, have an impact on reducing crime,” said Sheryl Goldstein.
Goldstein runs the mayor’s office on criminal justice. She says the Urban Institute’s report also found that the cameras save money by reducing crime, so there’s a plan to install more.
“Our next project is to install about 30 new crime cameras in Northeast Baltimore,” Goldstein said.
But some residents say the city’s 500 camera system can’t replace human eyes and ears.
“I think that when I see the police, I feel safer,” said Cali Fitzgerald. “Sometimes they’ll sit around here.”
The study also looked at crime cameras in Chicago and Washington, D.C. and found that the more visible they are, the better.
“People know where they are and know that they’re out in public spaces, being watched,” Goldstein said.
The study also found that four months after the city installed surveillance cameras in downtown Baltimore, illegal activity here dropped by 25 percent.
The crime cameras didn’t work so well in all cities. In Washington, D.C., there was no significant drop in crime because of surveillance cameras.