Mayor, chief discuss plan for more cameras

Mayor Jon Mitchell, Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro, and members of the City Council announced an important new investment in public safety Tuesday, proposing to expand the use of police cameras in public areas of key neighborhoods.

The plan comes in response to recent feedback from neighborhood leaders and residents in key neighborhoods. Particular camera locations have been chosen based on information gathered by the Police Department, including data collected as part of the new CompStat initiative, a police management program. CompStat allows for the logging of crime activity and the mapping of areas in a way that give police a better understanding of the public safety threat and possible responses.

Under the plan, neighborhoods around Monte Park, lower County Street, Ashley Park, and the Temple Landing neighborhood would all see expanded use of police cameras.

The new cameras will complement several other steps being taken under Chief Cordeiro’s leadership to address crime in these areas, including changes in community policing tactics, changes in station-level leadership, implementing additional reforms based on a strategic planning exercise for the department, and the use of “saturation patrols” to allow for a sustained police presence over a multi-week period.

The cost of the new cameras is estimated at $194,000. The Police Department has already installed cameras costing approximately $42,000 in locations in the near North End this year.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said, “Investments like this are being made by the best, most forward-thinking police departments across the country. The reason for their emphasis on camera technology is simple. Cameras are an extremely valuable, cost-effective tool when targeting crime in a defined geographic area. It’s not a practical or affordable strategy to put a cop on every corner, but cameras are a commonsense approach that effectively puts more law enforcement eyes on the street at exactly the places that need the most attention.”

Chief Cordeiro said, “Cameras are a tremendous force multiplier. They will allow the New Bedford Police Department to maximize the use of existing police resources, and give our officers on the street more information about what is happening in these key areas. It’s another tool to help our officers do their job better.”

The Chief added, “It’s also important to recognize that cameras are a tested, proven deterrent. Criminals know that their risk of being caught goes way up when police cameras are watching–and I can assure you, we will be watching.”