By Sterling Eaves, VHCA Safety Committee Member
The 2016-17 VHCA board has made safety a priority and last month, a meeting with Board and Safety Committee members, the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), and Atlanta Police Department (APD) occurred to discuss the status of video camera installation in our neighborhood. Law enforcement is greatly aided in their efforts to keep our neighborhood safe by the live surveillance of our City streets via this technology. Generally, the funding of each camera can vary between grants, government, and private funding or a combination thereof.
At various city locations, license plate readers are also installed. These cameras help to track vehicles used by criminals as they move away from a crime scene. All cameras are monitored by the APD Video Integration Center (VIC). Throughout Atlanta, several thousand public and private business cameras (Lenox Square Mall for example) are monitored around the clock by the VIC staff.
Installed before 2016 with public funding, the VIC has been monitoring cameras at Virginia Avenue at North Highland Avenue, Maiden Lane between Ponce de Leon Place and Bonaventure, and Ponce de Leon Avenue at the Ford Factory Lofts/Kroger shopping center.
Funds from VHCA and District 6 Councilman Alex Wan’s office have resulted in the installation of three additional cameras located at Frederica Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue, Ponce de Leon Avenue between Bonaventure Avenue and Somerset Terrace (near the Clermont Hotel), and Ponce Place between St. Charles Avenue and Greenwood Avenue.
A new round of cameras funded by Invest Atlanta will result in twenty additional cameras being installed in Zone 6, with three of these in Virginia-Highland beat 601. These cameras will be located at Amsterdam Walk, Ponce de Leon Avenue at North Highland Avenue, and St. Charles Avenue at North Highland Avenue.
APF is the nonprofit vehicle through which private funding is accumulated to fund safety initiatives all over our City. APF uses the donated funds they receive to purchase the safety technology and hardware and then donate it to the Atlanta Police Department for the Police to operate and maintain.
The Atlanta Police Department has identified six additional locations which are on their priority list for cameras in Virginia-Highland, Beat 601. Each camera cost approximately $15,000. Any person or entity can make a targeted, tax-free donation to the APF to help fund new cameras for our neighborhood and you are encouraged to do so.
If you’d like to learn more, here’s a link to a story WSB-TV aired about the installation of the videos cameras in VaHi.
So, the next time you walk or drive through our VaHi neighborhood, look up for the safety cameras and know that hard-working VIC men and women are looking back and keeping us all safe.