Neighborhood associations react to surveillance cameras coming to B’ham

Birmingham surveillance cameras

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Tuesday, Birmingham City Council approved nearly 100 surveillance cameras that will be installed around the city.

Originally the council was told the cameras could be going up in the Central Park, Ensley, Gate City and Kingston neighborhoods, but that was changed after a closed-door meeting.

"I would like to see the cameras around this area here. We’re located by the rec, the park and the school. I don’t want to know where they are going to put the cameras, I just want them to put the cameras places where its going to be more effective at,” Susan Palmer, president of the Central Park Neighborhood Association. said.

The five-year pilot surveillance camera program will cost the city over $3 million. We’re told over 50 cameras will have license plate recognition technology. Not all neighborhood associations see the cameras as crime fighting tools.

Robert Walker with the Wahouma Neighborhood Association feels the cameras are a reactive approach to fighting crime.

"The cameras offer just the opposite of what the neighborhood really wants. What the neighborhood really wants is crime prevention not crime reaction,” Walker said.

Walker says there’s needs to be more outreach programs to help prevent crime. Palmer tells us having cameras is not the only way to prevent crime either.

"This is not an excuse to say I’m not going to pick up the phone and call the police. You still have to do your part. Cameras work but us being effective residents makes the cameras even more effective and helps save lives,” Palmer said.

The city is partnering with Alabama Power for the pilot camera program. We're told the surveillance cameras will go up sometime in the next 90 days.

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