Hazleton's surveillance camera system could serve as a model for a New Jersey municipality looking to combat crime.
The Town of Phillipsburg, N.J., might take a page from Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi, who implemented a program to have businesses purchase surveillance cameras that are connected to monitors at City Hall.
A report published in the Express-Times of Easton documented a push from Phillipsburg officials to require 24-hour businesses to install security cameras as well as alternative crime deterrents, and could include a visit to Hazleton to take a closer look at its public-private camera venture.
Although Yannuzzi said he hasn't personally heard from Phillipsburg officials, he's pleased that other communities are recognizing the city's efforts.
"It's neat that they found out about it," he said. "It's also neat that they want to duplicate it."
The city bought the base system for about $10,000 and has low-interest loans available through its federally funded Community Development program that merchants can secure for buying cameras.
The system grew from around 17 cameras in June to more than 30 as of recently. Yannuzzi also plans to have cameras installed at Hazleton's 14 parks and playgrounds.
The program should continue expanding as antennas are installed atop Hazleton City Authority's Monges Street water tanks that will enable businesses and homeowners on the city's north side to connect, the mayor said.
"When we put the antennas on it, we'll get the streets on the north side," he said. "Hopefully we'll try and do most of our parks and playgrounds."
Yannuzzi said Hazleton's system has been an effective deterrent, with police acting on problems observed from monitoring video that could be stored on the system for up to a month.
Each business or resident participating in Hazleton's program can rent or purchase a 1.3-megapixel color outdoor camera, with infrared capability for night use, that would be connected to monitors at the police department for a one-time cost of $975, installed. A four-camera indoor system is available for outright purchase or can be obtained through a lease-to-own agreement.
Only the outdoor cameras will be connected to the system at City Hall. City police cruisers also have the capability to bring up footage from the cameras on the computer screens in the cruisers...