New Surveillance Cameras Likely Headed to Maywood Crime Hotbed

Verizon camera projection.png

The area near 17th and Madison, along the Prairie Path, will be the first test area for three new Verizon surveillance cameras that may be installed by early next year. | Verizon || Below: A Current Technology camera in front of One Stop Express, 1014 S. 17th Ave. | Google Earth

Camera 17th.pngTuesday, December 13, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Maywood Board of Trustees recently approved a roughly $23,000 cost estimate for the installation of three battery-powered motion censored surveillance cameras in one of the village’s crime hotbeds — the 17th and Madison corridor.

The $23,000 Verizon cost estimate covers a 5-year contract for the new cameras, which the village would pay in $480 monthly installments. A one-time preliminary site survey would cost a maximum of $1,200. In addition, the village would pay $35 a month for wireless service.

According to a Nov. 21 village memo, the pricing estimate is non-binding and used only for planning purposes.

“[We’re targeting] one particular area, a test area, which is one of our hot spots where we have chronic narcotic, prostitution and loitering problems,” said Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley at a Nov. 30 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting at which the proposal was discussed.

“These cameras are sensor-oriented, so they won’t be functioning all the time,” Talley said. “They would [be alerted] as people walk into a certain area within the projection of the camera. [That’s when] the camera will activate.”

The cameras, which would be provided by Verizon, are a marked improvement on the roughly 70 closed-circuit security cameras installed by Current Technologies a decade ago, officials said. Earlier this year, the board effectively terminated its contract with Current because of numerous problems with those cameras.

In 2013, village officials learned that they had been authorizing monthly bills totaling upwards of $9,000 for a system in which computer servers were frequently down and 20 cameras were faulty, seven of which were simply broken and 13 of which were working, but rendered inactive due to some other technical glitch, such as being attached to power poles that weren’t getting any electricity.

After that discovery, Talley said, the village purchased a new warranty on the camera system, which led to the installation of 26 new, high definition cameras. Those high definition cameras, however, were knocking the standard issue cameras out of the system, “so a lot of data was not being read,” Talley added.

Talley said that presently, “Some of the [Current] cameras are working and some aren’t,” but declined to give exact numbers. The Current cameras are no longer covered by a warranty.

Unlike the Current cameras, which were dependent for power on electric poles, the Verizon cameras would have battery backups and would draw power from a blend of electricity and alternative sources of energy like solar panels, Talley said, adding that the Verizon cameras would replace the handful of Current cameras in the hotbed area.

The chief also recommended that the village contract with Verizon because the company is a service provider to the U.S. Dep. of Homeland Security. In the future, Talley said, the village might be able to purchase some of Verizon’s other security offerings, such as emergency kiosks (similar to the ones on many college campuses) that could be installed along the Prairie Path. The kiosks would allow people who are in trouble to press a panic button that would immediately alert the police department.

“That would be a growth solution Verizon offers us that [Current Technologies] can’t,” Talley said. “Current has [similar value-added] options, but they’re not the same caliber.”

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet said that if the Verizon cameras prove successful in the 17th and Madison test area, then the village could consider purchasing more cameras for other areas throughout the village.

Talley said the money for the additional cameras could be obtained through applying for federal grants.

“This is one of our biggest problem areas,” Talley said of the test area. “This is the area that needs the cameras first. And once we can establish a protocol for that, then I can start getting the data I need to vie for grants to get other cameras throughout the village.”

In an interview last week, Talley said that future expansion of the Verizon camera system would entail installing the devices in five more hotbed areas. The expansion would cost around $150,000, he estimated.

Talley said that, once he and the mayor signs off on the contract, and a site survey is conducted, the new Verizon cameras could be up and running by early next year. VFP

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