At the Union City Board of Commissioners meeting held on June 28, the commissioners cleared the way to go out to bid on surveillance cameras that will be placed along Summit Avenue from Fifth through 19th streets.
A resolution authorizing Schoor DePalma, the city's engineering firm, to create specifications for the cameras was passed at the meeting.
The cameras will be purchased using $175,000 of the city's Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) money. The UEZ is a statewide program designed to help revitalize urban business districts. The UEZ member stores charge a 3-percent sales tax, half of the standard New Jersey rate, which directly goes toward making improvements in the business districts.
An extra eye on the streets
The surveillance cameras will be installed on poles located on Summit Avenue from Fifth to 19th streets.
"Maybe now people will think twice," said Union City Mayor Brian Stack after the meeting, about people who might try to break into a car or sell drugs on the street corners. "No matter which way they run, they will be on camera."
Area merchants agree that the cameras will be a good thing in their neighborhood.
"There are drugs and drunks and everything over here," said Raul Najar, the owner of Armando's Perfumes and Beauty Supplies on Summit Avenue.
"These cameras will help with any type of crime," said Stack.
The cameras will be monitored by civilians under the supervision of the officer already assigned to the radio room in the police department, where the videos will be watched.
Jersey City has successfully been using surveillance cameras in their neighborhoods for close to two years.
"We have already made numerous arrests using those cameras," said Edgar Martinez, the deputy director and public information officer for the Jersey City Police Department. However, he added that the department will need the additional year to accurately determine whether the cameras are a success.
The cameras are currently located along Martin Luther King Drive and Ocean Avenue in Jersey City.
After two years with the surveillance cameras in Jersey City, Edgar Martinez, the deputy director and information officer for the Jersey City Police Department, said that Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham is extending their program another year.
Stack said that these cameras are not going to take the place of any police officers on the streets.
"There will still be walking patrols and the same amount of patrol cars on the streets," said Stack.
If the program is successful on Summit Avenue, Stack plans to increase the program by adding the cameras to Bergenline and Central avenues.
Letting the residents know
Stack said that all of the residents and merchants in that area will be notified as to when the cameras will be going up before they are actually installed.
Jersey City also has a resident board in place to act as a liaison between the residents in those communities, the police department and the mayor.
This committee tells the department any concerns that residents may have about the cameras. However, so far, Martinez said that there haven't been any major problems.
Stack said that also doesn't think that any of the residents will have a problem with the cameras in their neighborhoods. v "The cameras will help them," said Najar, agreeing with the mayor.