A Toledo police security camera pod at Locus and Ontario streets is a typical installation.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
In the 20 years that Terrence Threadill has worked at the Clark gas station at Dorr and Hoag streets, he has seen a few things.
Robberies in the parking lot and fights there and in the surrounding central city neighborhood are not uncommon.
When he's working inside, he's protected by bullet-resistant glass. Store owner Moe Alkhateeb, on Thursday, was carrying a gun on his hip.
Now, the Toledo police surveillance camera that was installed across the street is another security measure, Mr. Threadill said. "I think it has made a difference," he said. "Everyone can see it's there."
On Tuesday, Toledo police Chief Derrick Diggs said at least 20 of the approved 150 cameras had been installed across the city.
On Friday, the chief declined to disclose where the cameras were installed.
The Blade did its own surveillance and found cameras installed at the following intersections: Huron and Lagrange streets, Michigan and Walnut streets, Ontario at Locust streets, Huron Street at Jefferson Avenue, Huron at Washington Street, 17th and Adams streets, Dorr and Hoag streets, Delaware and Lawrence avenues, Detroit Avenue at Monroe Street, Dorr at Collingwood Boulevard, and West Bancroft Street at Ashland Avenue.
Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said the cameras are being installed in two phases — the first, completed sometime this month, calls for nearly 80 cameras to be installed at 40 sites.
The cameras, at a cost of $1.6 million, were approved by Toledo City Council in March.
Each apparatus has two cameras. Some of the cameras include special features, such as gunshot and license-plate detection.
Police said most of the cameras are not yet activated, but some of them are already being monitored. Sergeant Heffernan said eventually, cameras will be up in nearly all parts of the city, but placement is determined by a number of factors.
"One is where we're experiencing the most crime or where our cameras will do the most good given the historical data that we have," Sergeant Heffernan said.
Department officials also have to consider engineering constraints, such as where are "dead zones" and where will a camera get a good signal.
If a camera was planned for a location that turns out to be a dud, department officials can easily adjust their plan and move the camera a block or two to where a signal is accessible.
Officials also take into consideration requests from residents, which are more common than complaints, Sergeant Heffernan said.
"Surprisingly we have gotten a lot of people wanting them in their neighborhoods which … we didn't know how it was going to work out — we didn't know if people would be resistant to having them in their neighborhoods," Sergeant Heffernan said.
"For every one person contacting us saying ‘Keep it out of here, 'much more people say, ‘Hey, can you put one here?' "
Steve Miller, from the Northwest Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said neither the local chapter nor state level — has received any complaints about the cameras from Toledo residents.
"We've clearly taken a position in opposition," Mr. Miller said. "We think it's too intrusive and not effective. More police officers on the streets would be more effective."
Sergeant Heffernan said the cameras are not being used to replace or supplement beat officers, but rather to "assist police officers while they're working."
Technology exists that would allow officers to view camera feeds on computers inside cruisers, but that's not something department officials are considering just yet.
Some critics have said installing the cameras will only push crime from one corner to another.
"It is a security blanket," Sergeant Heffernan said. "Where we have cameras, crime is less. Maybe some critics say, ‘You're displacing it,' and maybe that's true, that can be argued, but at least where that camera is, there is going to be less crime.
"The criminals know where the cameras are. Believe me," the sergeant said.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.