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Phoenixville Mayor Calls for Downtown Surveillance Cameras

One night in particular has the mayor concerned.

Phoenixville Mayor Leo Scoda (Photo Credit: Bob Byrne)
Phoenixville Mayor Leo Scoda (Photo Credit: Bob Byrne)
Citing concerns about the cost of keeping Bridge Street secure on busy nights like First Fridays, Mayor Leo Scoda called on Borough Council members to consider installing security cameras in Downtown Phoenixville.

The mayor's call came toward the end of Tuesday night's Borough Council Meeting, long after most of the standing-room-only crowd had called it a night and gone home.

Talking specifically about First Fridays, the Mayor told council members "it's costing us a lot of money to have (extra police on duty). I don't think it's fair for all the taxpayers of the borough to support downtown. I do think security cameras would be a deterrent."

Scoda noted that many times crimes in Philadelphia are solved when security camera of a thief is broadcast on television news. "A lot of times those videos are there because storefronts put the cameras up."

Why now?  

"I just think we're seeing things that concern me," the mayor told council members without specifying any one crime or suspicious activity in particular but a more general increase in calls for police downtown, especially on First Fridays. 

Scoda suggested that a council committee take a look at what it would cost "to install cameras in the 100, 200 and 300 block of Bridge Street."  Council President Richard Kirkner assigned the question of cost and feasibility of getting cameras to the council's Police Committee for review for the 2014 budget.
Paul G. August 14, 2013 at 08:17 AM
What are the crime statistics for First Fridays? It's a bit surprising that the Mayor decided to voice his concern after the crowd had left. Why not while the crowd was there. We don't need to catch crimes "after the fact", we need policemen on the street to discourage crime and apprehend criminals "as it happens".
MA August 14, 2013 at 08:23 AM
This idea will go as far a free public wifi on Bridge St. Another govt. boondoggle. I can't wait to see them argue about the color of the cameras, will they clash with our new streetscape?
Realist August 14, 2013 at 08:46 AM
The Mayor’s report is always near the end of the meeting. He didn’t wait till the crowd dissipated. If a certain someone would have kept his promise about free wifi, cameras would not be that expensive. How much did we spend on the new Borough hall just so Kirkner could get his name on a plaque? I think we can afford cameras, it would be a great investment. First place I would put one is the Children’s plaza.
Jim W August 14, 2013 at 09:02 AM
Mayor Scoda's reputation and integrity are flawless. No one has made more positive contributions to Phoenixville. His suggestion makes sense to assist the police in collecting irrefutable evidence. Who would oppose that, other than criminals?
Paul G. August 14, 2013 at 09:38 AM
The whole argument that only criminals would oppose Surveillance Cameras is bogus. Where are the facts that show cameras are needed? What are the crime statistics? How many extra policemen are working on First Fridays, where are they patrolling, and what is the cost for using them? Surveillance Cameras were used in the past in Phoenixville. What happened to them? If they are so effective, why were they removed? Statistics show low crime rates in Phoeniville, with property crime being the highest. The statistics just don't seem to justify the need for Surveillance Cameras.
Jim W August 14, 2013 at 09:58 AM
Why wait for crime to happen to have your statistics. You analysts pursue data for years and never make a decision. Camera's are effective in both micro - stores - and macro - towns and are proven globally
Realist August 14, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Paul G You seem to like to hear yourself talk but don’t know any facts. I don’t see you publishing statistics showing we don’t need cameras. Do you go downtown on a Friday night? Have you talked to shop owners? Open your eyes and ears. The security cameras that were downtown were ancient and basically fell apart. We need new wireless cameras to keep up with the times.
Bob Byrne (Editor) August 14, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Larry and Bill, you'll need to have the conversation in another forum because the words you both chose violate Patch's terms of service. Regarding the Mayor's report: Realist you are correct about the Mayor's report always coming at the end of the meeting. The intent here was not to say that the Mayor held off making his remarks, he spoke at his appointed time. The purpose here was only to let the standing-room-only crowd who attended the first two hours of the three-hour plus meeting know why they had not heard his honor's comments.
Jim W August 14, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Thanks for maintaining the decorum. Since a small town like Phoenixville has had a fast food employee murdered downtown in the last two years, it would be hard to argue with the mayors proposal. That alone is a compelling statistic.
Paul G. August 14, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Realist, I know many facts, and more importantly, I know how to find them. The statistics are easy enough for anyone to look up, you shouldn't need anyone to take you by the hand and lead you to them Realist!. I do go downtown on a Friday night. I do talk to shop owners. I haven't heard any complaints about crime. The only "crime complaints" I usually hear are about the drunks coming out of Club 212 behind Bridge St and the drug deals on the northside. If the old cameras were that important, why did the let them fall apart in the first place? I can't see replacing police officers that do their jobs well, and are on or not far from anyplace on Bridge St, with cameras that would have to be constantly monitored!
Ike August 14, 2013 at 05:11 PM
We used to have them ..They still on the Poles by the bank.
Ike August 14, 2013 at 05:13 PM
yES , WE REALLY Need them now ..With all the drinking that goes on down there .. Bridge st. i nothing but drunks sometimes.ALOT MORE THAN IT USED TO BE WHEN WE HAD LOJOS AND ALL THE OTHERS BARS.... Now it kept on the down low..... Mayor ,, get them so we can clean up the drunks..
harryfinster August 14, 2013 at 10:58 PM
big brother arrives in phoenixville,to watch the non existent crime,maybe the mayor should put one in front of his own house for when his son visits
Realist August 15, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Paul G. I think you’re only going to believe what you want to. To say there are only drug deals on the Northside is ludicrous. But then many things you say are as well. Try going to the children’s plaza after dark. No one said anything about decreasing the number of police. But then again that probably another one of your “facts”. If you can’t understand that there has been a update in technology since the old cameras were installed I can’t help you. We have these new things called wifi and wireless. Maybe you should check into the “facts” about those.
Jim W August 15, 2013 at 08:34 AM
The mayor, the police, and those who are invested in the downtown area support the camera initiative. I am sure the family that lost their son to violent crime downtown would be in favor. Perpetual fact collectors never have the ability to execute on a practical proposal.
Paul G. August 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM
The mayor indicated that security cameras would be a replacement for the extra officers on duty with his proposal. Realist, I never said there are only drug deals on the northside. My opinion has nothing to do with an "update in technology" when it concerns the old camera's. Those cameras being unused for years had nothing to do with technology. It's no surprise you're attacking me because I disagree with your opinion, that's typical of people that can't support their own argument. Jim W, that murder took place in 2011 on Prospect Street. The Mayor is proposing cameras in the 100, 200 and 300 block of Bridge Street. That would not have benefited the case in that murder at all. The Mayor was speaking specifically about First Fridays when he made his remarks about the cameras, and he said he was seeing things that concerned him but didn't mention anything specific. What things? It doesn't make sense that with 27 officers, they can't come up with a cost effective schedule to have adequate officers on duty for the period in which First Fridays are operating. Camera's on Bridge Street just means "crime" will move elsewhere in town. How are you going to justify that to the neighborhoods where the drug deals and criminals will move to? Why wouldn't that create extra police on duty to deal with that? I think there are many things that have to be reviewed, beside that cost of equipment before camera's are used in place of trained officers to deter crime.
Jim W August 15, 2013 at 02:15 PM
The convicted murderers used Bridge St. four times that evening. What bigger crime statistic do you require?
Paul G. August 15, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Again, the murder occurred on Prospect Street, not Bridge Street. I have stated my opinion and concerns and I'm not going to restate them. The Mayor has said he was seeing things that concerned him enough to convince him that cameras are needed, without being specific. The Mayor should reveal exactly what he was seeing that gave him that concern. As citizens, we have a right to know.
Ike August 15, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Paul G.,, DRUG DEALS over the hill.. Yes there and , maybe if you go in to the bathrooms at the NICE restaurants in town , Bet you could witness a drug deal ... They no differant than the bars that alot of witched about before ,,Well they allso sell OVERPRICED FOOD. ..............LoJos, The Phoenix, Spectators , same as ,,do i have to name the new ones?? Yes Mayor get them carmeras and PUT THEM IN THE NICE restaurants. So you can see for yourself..Than i want to hear the ones who witched about the old bars to CALL for the same to the NEW ONES. I find it amusing....
Jim W August 15, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Irrefutable evidence that places felons at or near a crime scene. Who could be against that?
harryfinster August 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM
move to a town that doesnt need cameras
Paul G. August 15, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Lack of cameras on Bridge Street, did not prevent conviction of the criminals that committed the crime, which again, took place on Prospect Street.
Ike August 16, 2013 at 05:16 AM
Paulie ,,, its all the same..
Ken Buckwalter August 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM
On my campaign website, Ken Buckwalter for Mayor, www.kenbuckwalter.com - 62% who voted thus far are not in favor of downtown cameras.
Dan Huber September 27, 2013 at 01:22 PM
It's been said, and it should be understood. A camera won't stop a crime. Do the cameras have handcuffs and the use of deadly force to intervene when necessary? Who's watching the cameras? Cameras are simply a means to provide evidence of a past crime. They will NOT stop a crime. It's the same flawed and baseless argument that banning firearms will stop crimes committed with firearms. Crime is already illegal. This won't deter anything. If anything, put that money into a better security force that's mobile, agile, and able to RESPOND and REACT to a crime in progress. Even that being said, the police cannot be everywhere. If you want to deter crime, go for the more logical steps, such as adding lighting in poorly-lit areas, or maybe one-touch emergency call boxes, etc. I don't want someone looking over my shoulder all of the time. The old adage goes "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
bd September 28, 2013 at 08:33 AM
Why not use this money to hire a 24 hour police dispatcher for Phoenixville? It is ridiculous to call the police, get a Chester County dispatcher, and have to explain locations and situations to someone who is unfamiliar with Phoenixville.

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