Surveillance cameras now playing heroes in investigations

Local News

ERIE, Pa – In light of the recent Leclair murder investigation, and in addition to several other crimes around the city, the importance of surveillance cameras is evident.

If you’re not actively looking, you may not even realize how many surveillance cameras there are around  you.  Those cameras have proven to provide critical information in numerous investigations.

They’re inside businesses, hanging from street lights, sometimes inside homes; and now, attached to the outside of nearly every public building.  It may feel like big brother is watching at all times, and it’s best to assume he is.  

It was surveillance pictures that lead to the arrest of Christopher Leclair for the suspected murder of his wife, just a few days ago. It was also surveillance footage that brought clarity to the incident of a garbage truck plowing into a barber shop earlier this week.

“They capture activities and certain types of behavior that’s just not wanted in downtown Erie,” said John Buchna, CEO of the Erie Downtown Partnership.

Surveillance cameras, though a controversial topic, have proven their importance to law enforcement.

“We’ve really tried to capitalize on surveillance to get a clearer picture of what actually happened at the time of a crime,” said the City of Erie Police Chief, Don Dacus.

The Erie Downtown Partnership has an on-going grant program that provides surveillance cameras to area businesses. Encompassing 70 blocks, and nearly 4 miles, the group works closely with law enforcement through their External Security Grant Program, to help keep Erie’s streets safe.
“Any time a law enforcement authority… the City of Erie police, the Pennsylvania state police, etc… requests footage, that has to be turned over. That’s one of the requirements,” Buchna says of the businesses award this particular grant.
Gone are the days of fuzzy images. As technology has advanced, cameras provide officers with clear images, from which they’re able to make a positive id.”
“I’d say over the last 3 to 5 years, we’ve seen advancement in the clarity of video where we can actually make positive id’s off of a video,” said Chief Dacus.
Buchna says their main goal, is protecting the citizens of Erie, “That they feel safer coming downtown. It’s unfortunate that you had to have a camera, but ultimately, it was time.”
With technology advancing as it is, we can only expect to see more cameras being installed throughout Erie, and as a result, hopefully safer streets.

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