New weapons are on the way in the battle to keep Erie’s downtown safe; security cameras purchased with the help of local grant dollars.
The Erie Downtown Partnership, business owners, and police are collaborating to identify crime trouble spots and to address them. Developments are sprouting up around downtown Erie and the Bayfront but there’s a cost to doing business
Business Owner Tim Sedney says, “I was a little upset over how the fees are being charged and how we were being assessed, and I thought, ‘what do we get out of it?’ until they started bringing things forward to me.”
It’s an opportunity that was presented to Sedney, installing hi-def surveillance cameras in which police could access upon request.
The Erie Downtown Partnership awarded the 2018 External Security Camera Program Grant to five businesses for 15 outdoor security cameras. The grant provided a total of more than $11,000, a reimbursement for some of the costs for equipment.
John Buchna, CEO of the EDP, says, “Their investment couple with our matching grant program adds more security through the external security cameras our downtown community, including our Bayfront here.”
Erie Police say the cameras won’t only benefit the business owners, but also the greater public as its a tool for them to fight crime. Police Chief Dan Spizarny tells us, “It’s a fantastic help to the police because we can’t have guys everywhere, but we do have eyes.” Eyes across downtown and new coverage with the help of Ember and Forge, Room 33 Speakeasy, UPMC Park, Potter Silkscreening and the owners of establishments like Rum Runners and the forthcoming Woody’s Backwater Barge and Grill.
Sedney says, “There’s a lot of other things that could come into this community here on the waterfront that will help it.”
Since 2015, the program has helped to install more than 60 cameras.