It's been about a month since sixteen cameras have been up in running in Fort Myers communities hardest hit by crime. The $300,000 purchase covered costs for cameras and the wiring, structuring, and installation needed for each throughout Harlem Heights and Habitat Village. For some residents, the high tech watchful eye is what many people have been hoping for to help combat crime.
"You just never know when the next bullet is going to fly," Olivia Walker said. "You just pray it don't come knocking on your door. These cameras, that's a prayer that's been answered."
"If you look at the overall responsibility for delivering public safety, this is warranted," Fort Myers Mayor, Randy Henderson said. "Modern technology has given us a way of looking at public safety and it comes with a cost."
Four In Your Corner asked Mayor Henderson how the purchase and installation, paid for by tax payer dollars, has helped the City of Palms. Henderson says cameras are working and has statistics to prove it.
"We are doing better," he said. "We keep dramatic statistics. We're hoping to be doing even better this time next year but it takes time."
Mayor Henderson tells Four In Your Corner the city has been working with Law Enforcement to track where the highest 9-1-1 calls are coming from. Those calls are then filtered to see if they're reports of actual crimes, tips, or domestic disputes.. As those calls are filtered, a team is able to determine where to expand the installation of cameras next.
When Four In Your Corner asked why a large portion of tax payer dollars are being spent on specific communities, Mayor Henderson said it's a commitment to public safety the entire community will benefit from in the long run.
"If we solve a crime and if we catch a perpetrator, then ultimately, the cost of crime goes down because we remove them from society," he said.
The city is exploring other inexpensive camera options and budgeting alternatives to install more cameras early in 2017.