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Residents feel safer with crime cameras

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 7:00pm

The contract is up for a tool that police use to fight crime in Baton Rouge. The ShotSpotter cameras can hone in on the location where gunshots are fired. Now, Metro Council members have to decide what to do with them.

Some council members bring up concerns about whether or not those crime cameras are working, but residents say if they curb crime even a little bit, they should stay.

Robert Sept drove his brother to the hospital after he was shot on Plank Road years back.

"Since that day, I always thought that Baton Rouge should have more security and protection."

He says it's reassuring to know that the cameras are out there.

"The more protection out there, the better. That's what I think."

Law enforcement officials say the policing tool helps them to do their jobs better.

"It kind of gives us an advantage to get out there as quickly as possible without having to rely on somebody calling us," says Cpl. L'Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

He says BRPD may get a ShotSpotter call more than once a day, and when they do, police head to that area to check things out.

"We have neighborhoods and situations where people won't call if they hear shots fired. By them not calling, and if we didn't have the ShotSpotter [anymore] we'll never know if a shooting has occurred."

Some council members say the cameras aren't set up in the right places. It's a concern shared by resident, Jennifer Deggs. She didn't even know there were crime cameras set up in the capitol city.

"The cameras should be closer to my area because you hear shots all the time, but you never hear the police coming," Deggs says.

Police say they're working on that.

"Crime is fluid and it moves from different areas within the city so we're looking at that," McKneely explains. "We're looking at putting them in different places."

All of them hoping the technology sticks to keep the streets of Baton Rouge a little safer.

"If that's going to be something that's going to help out the community, then it's something that should stay," says Deggs.

The Metro Council will vote on renewing the one-year contract at the next meeting. They say they don't want to remove the ShotSpotters if it can be proven that they're working. They'll rely on information from the Baton Rouge Police Department to make that decision.

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