MT. VERNON (WSIL) — Mt. Vernon leaders hope new views will help keep communities safer. The city council approved a plan Monday night to install 25 cameras, mainly in areas south of Broadway Street.
Mt. Vernon Mayor John Lewis says there’s plenty of concern about crime in those parts of the city.
"We had been looking at possible ways to decrease our crime in Mt. Vernon, plus make our neighborhoods much safer and more enjoyable to stay in," Lewis said.
Officials studied the issue for nearly a year, talking residents and to leaders in other cities about what systems they used and they landed on a company called PASS Security.
Lewis said the technology is top notch, "Being able to spot people, being able to spot cars, being able to track license plates, and they’re coming out with a new security analytic for the system that should be able to identify people with weapons."
The system will cost $282,000 to set up and Lewis said there’s plans to add more cameras each year.
City councilman Donte Moore said it can save children’s lives, and it could help with investigations like the murder of Deon Feggins in 2010 which dragged on for years in court.
"If those cameras had been in place, his parents would have had closure a lot earlier," Moore said. "So $282,000, no, that’s not a problem for me. If it stops somebody from getting shot, if it stops someone from getting burglarized, if it stops somebody from vandalizing somebody’s property, to me, the price is worth it."
The Mt. Vernon City council also approved a plan to demolish 29 buildings in the city. Lewis said all the buildings are in terrible condition and the city obtained court orders to condemn them all. The city budgeted $100,000 for the demolition. Lewis said the city demolished about 30 similar buildings last year.