On Monday, Mayor Frank Jackson announced that Cleveland would begin the process of installing 61,000 energy-efficient LED lights and 1,000 high-definition cameras throughout the city.
Part of the city’s ‘Safe Smart CLE’ program, this $35 million project aims to reduce crime across the board while improving the reliability and quality of street-lighting. Installation is set to take place over the next 18 months, starting with Wards 1 and 13 in the Lee-Harvard and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods.
“When 18 months is done, I’m very confident that our city will be safer, it will be brighter, it will be cleaner and it will be that step that we need toward revitalizing our neighborhoods,” Council President Kevin Kelley said at a press conference Monday.
While replacing the current sodium street lights with longer-lasting LED lights has its own benefits — reducing carbon emissions, for one — the primary goal with this project is lowering the city’s crime rate and increasing public safety.
“As we know, light and visibility are the enemy of crime and disorder,” Police Chief Calvin Williams said in the Monday press conference. He noted that the mayor would announce an additional technology piece later this year that would further bring together the project’s public safety elements. “[F]ighting violent crime in the city … is our number-one issue here that we’re going to tackle in the years to come,” he said.
According to Jackson, cameras are being placed in locations identified by the police as crime “hot spots,” as well as within 1,000 feet of recreations centers or major parks. He stressed that the first installation of 1,000 cameras is only phase one in a longer process aimed at increasing public safety. Additional cameras will be implemented according to “whatever we need to do as time goes on,” he said.
While camera placement is restricted to public property, Williams said cameras could potentially be installed on private property with permission from owners.
When asked about the location of these crime “hotspots,” Jackson obfuscated. “We won’t tell you where we put the cameras,” he said. “We won’t do that. But we will tell you that they are identified by the police and there is some input by council members as to information they’ve gotten.”
Anyone interested can track the installation progress online at the Cleveland Public Power (CPP) website.
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