FOX13 Investigates: 70 new police cameras put in place to help crime

by: Greg Coy Updated:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A crime solution is working right here in Memphis. 

FOX13 Investigates has been crunching crime numbers to take a closer look at the 70 new police cameras put in place to help blunt crime. It's a pilot program which costs the City of Memphis a half million dollars.

"I moved here when school started and my son was six years old. He is 34 now," remembers Michael Porter.

He told FOX13 his street was quiet when he moved his family here but that has changed. This summer, Porter noticed a flashing camera near his home, at the corner Tchulahoma and Bestway. Porter said he noticed the cameras were put up, "maybe before school let out maybe May, right before June. I said wow we got cameras here." 

A police camera fixed to a utility pole that feeds video into the Memphis Police Department's Real Time Crime Center. 

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"When we see blue lights," Porter said "we tend to do things the way it should be done, properly."

The City of Memphis bought 70 cameras. Memphis Police crunched the crime data and recommended where to put them. Spread out across the city, each of the seven council districts got 10 cameras to avoid political bickering. Their located in the highest crime corners in Memphis.

After three months of monitoring, FOX13 wanted to know if the investment in technology working? We used MPD's own crime tracking website to compare this summer's crime statistics to last year during the months of June July and august.  Our analysis showed a drop in major crime in all three of the neighborhoods we analyzed.

In Westwood, the number of home burglaries dropped from four to two. In Oakhaven, the number of drugs and weapons arrests dropped from two to zero and in Michaels Porter's neighborhood the number of burglaries have dropped to zero. Porter told FOX13 he thinks his community is getting safer. 

"I would say it's a positive direction," said Porter.

FOX13 took our numbers to Councilman Philip Spinosa, Jr., the man with the original plan. Spinosa told us there is another $400,000 approved in the budget to buy another 70 cameras.

"So, the money has been allocated for this fiscal year. So the money is there," said Spinosa, Jr. "So, next week after the presentation we all be in agreement to implement the program like we did last year."

FOX13 has learned Memphis Police will share new crime data with the City Council next week. Spinosa said he hopes the council will act quickly and agree on locations for the next round of cameras.

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