Carlisle adding surveillance cameras to public housing

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CARLISLE, Pa. -- Residents in Carlisle's public housing complexes hope their neighborhoods will be safer in the coming months.

Nineteen cameras will be installed in two of the borough's public housing areas -- Cherry Court and Grandview Court -- later this summer, according to the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. By the time installation is complete, Carlisle's public housing will be watched over by 51 total surveillance cameras.

Ben Laudermilch, executive director of the CCHRA, said the new cameras are in the final stages of approval, but money has already been allocated for the project.

"We feel this is a good measure to improve safety on each individual site," Laudermilch said. "We believe a camera system like this with up to a week of recorded video will have a deterrent effect on criminals."

Installing 19 new cameras will cost approximately $119,000. Money for the project comes from an annual fund from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Cameras will be functional 24 hours per day, and can hold up to a week's worth of video, Laudermilch said. Police officers will not be monitoring the cameras all hours of the day, but can view anything recorded from home and work computers through a secure IP address.

Currently, Carlisle Borough has 32 cameras in public housing areas run by the CCHRA and 20 controlled by the Carlisle Police Department. Housing Authority cameras are installed in public housing along the 200 block of North Pitt Street, 100 West Penn Street, 300 North West Street, 300 North Pitt Street, 300 North Bedford Street, 100 Lincoln Street, and 200 East Pomfret Street. In the coming days, the both the Carlisle P.D. and CCHRA will partner so Carlisle police will be able to have access to all of the housing authorities cameras.

"The more cameras you have, the more potential evidence you have," Lt. Stephen Latshaw of the Carlisle P.D. said. "People already know these cameras are there. Is it a deterrent (for crimes)? I would say, 'Yes.'"

If anything, it makes residents in these areas feel safer. Marlene Palmer lives in the housing complex along 200 North Pitt Street. She calls herself the "Neighborhood Mom" as she tends to watch over her grandchildren and other kids who play in the complex parking lot. Having cameras fixated on the street and lot is like having an extra set of eyes, she says.

"I need a lot of help," Palmer said, laughing. "There's so much that goes on in Carlisle, so anything to protect the kids, I think is a good idea."