Crime-Fighting Cameras

October 8, 2008 12:42:30 AM PDT
Fed up with crime ... The Fresno Police Department and several hundred southwest Fresno residents met to talk about ways to end it.Police and many of the people who live here seem ready to take action ... Tonight the police department and residents talked about ways to reclaim the neighborhoods occupied by thugs for too long.

Cameras now speak for neighbors in southwest Fresno who are often too afraid to talk.

At a community meeting Tuesday night residents watched for themselves, the new watchdog, that does not need to fear the retaliation many who live here do.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "They are not going to be able to get away with crime, drug dealing that's occurring in these neighborhoods because we are not only seeing them commit those crimes actively, we're also recording them so we can prosecute them in court."

The camera on Poppy and Grove has already witnessed several drug deals. It's the same area where four people have been murdered in just over a year.

Monea Johnson's boyfriend Michael Caldera was the latest murder victim. Johnson says the turnout and commitment from neighbors is encouraging.

Moneaya Johnson said, "Yeah, and I'm glad they need to step up and take they streets back. Get these punks up out of they neighborhood. They need to."

The yellow crime scene tape is getting old for residents here and so are the memorials on street corners.

Debra Elliott-Echols said, "I think the adults are tired and I think the kids are just plain old simply tired too. The crime has been going on long enough. It's time to stop."

Residents told police they welcome the cameras since it makes them feel safer. Officers hope it also makes criminals think twice about what they do here too.

32 cameras have been installed in southwest Fresno already, 90 total citywide. The police chief told neighbors he's not opposed to adding more here if residents want them and crime shows the need.

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