Neighborhood residents raise money to install SkyCop

Neighborhood residents raise money to install SkyCop

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Two hundred additional surveillance cameras are going up all over the city of Memphis, and that's not all.

More local neighborhoods are willing to pony up the cash to get these SkyCops in their neighborhoods.

Memphis City Council approved a resolution to spend $1.5 million to put about 200 cameras in public places across the city's seven districts such as community centers, parks, and pools.

Tuesday, four more neighborhood associations pooled their money together to buy a SkyCop for their neighborhood.

"We had a rash of burglaries and crimes and it seems to be on the rise," said Will Henderson, president of the Gaslight Square Neighborhood Association.

Henderson has lived in the Gaslight Square neighborhood for about 50 years and two years ago, he was a victim of a crime when someone broke into his home.

"Found him inside in the closet," Henderson said.

An alert neighbor called the police before the suspect could escape.

But if there's ever a "next time," technology might catch the crook or deter them altogether.

"And that sky camera covers the two entries into the neighborhood which is Westmore and Meadowhill," Henderson said.

Henderson said they raised $2,500 to match a grant from the Memphis Shelby County Law Enforcement Foundation to purchase the camera.

On Tuesday night, Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said it's time to look at adding other crime-fighting tools.

"Instead of just the camera program, there is a gunshot recognition technology that we're currently testing and have deployed in some areas of the city, still looking at license plate reader technology," Rallings said.

During the council meeting, MPD demonstrated how cameras outfitted with this new technology actually reacts when it hears gunshots, and the license plate reader on the camera made it possible to identify the suspects.

This new technology can better aid in catching criminals to hopefully make the city safer like how Henderson said it used to be.

"When I came here 50 years ago, you didn't have to worry about locking your doors," Henderson said.

Henderson said his neighborhood wasn't able to afford the license reader technology yet, but it's something they may consider in the future.

City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd said he's interested in the new technology, but for now, he just wants to have as many eyes on the ground throughout the city.

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