Three additional surveillance cameras will be installed in Toledo's Old North End to help combat neighborhood crime.
Toledo police Chief Derrick Diggs promised the new cameras at a ONE Village Council meeting Tuesday night at the Bush Street YMCA, where about 30 Old North End residents and members of the council met to express their concerns about a high level of crime in the area and to request the extra cameras.
The chief agreed to provide three additional cameras at: Magnolia and North Ontario Streets, North Ontario and Bush streets, and Chestnut and North Erie streets. He said he does not know the date of their installation, but assured residents that he will provide the cameras as soon as possible.
The council had asked Chief Diggs to install four surveillance cameras at Bush and North Ontario streets, and on Magnolia Street at North Michigan Street, North Superior Avenue, and Ontario.
Residents also called for a foot patrol that would consist of two police officers who would survey the area for one hour at the beginning or end of their shifts. Chief Diggs said he will look into the request, but could not make any guarantees because of lack of manpower.
"I do believe in foot patrols, but I don't have the officers, I don't want to promise ...something I can't deliver," the police chief said. "We're going to have to get back to our 700 numbers before we start getting more foot patrols."
The Toledo police department currently has 585 officers, he said.
Only the downtown area has a foot patrol, in which a Toledo police officer and a Lucas County Sheriff's deputy inspect the neighborhood.
"I'm happy with the results of the meeting," said Adita Miller, an ONE Village board member. "But we're still working on the foot patrol and getting the police involved for our safety."
Police Sergeant Joe Heffernan said he was aware of 77 cameras that have been installed around the city. When installation of the multimillion dollar project is complete, 150 to 160 cameras will keep a watchful eye on the city.
“People want more cameras in their neighborhoods because it works,” the sergeant said in an interview before the meeting. “If you have a problem area and cameras are up, the problems go down.”
Critics have said the crime doesn't drop, it just relocates.
“That's a debatable stance, but one thing that I don't think anybody argues with, where that camera is up, crime goes down,” Sergeant Heffernan said.
Resident Carl VanNorman, 51, said the Old North End is a hotspot for robberies.
"They tried to rob my cousin about a year ago, and my friend got robbed going down Magnolia and Huron," said Mr. VanNorman, who lives on Erie Street. "You've got young kids out there at one o'clock in the morning. I'd like to see a lot more cops out on the road, on Erie Street especially."
The ONE Village Council and North Toledo residents will reconvene at the Bush St. YMCA on Aug. 15 to discuss infrastructure, abandoned Old North End houses, street safety, and the need for a foot patrol, Ms. Miller said.
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