County residents should have an added sense of security when visiting downtown Schenectady thanks to $404,000 in state and private money the county legislature accepted Tuesday, June 10, to expand the county's camera surveillance project.
Schenectady County currently has 10 surveillance cameras throughout the city, and the additional money will allow the county to expand the project to 40 cameras.
District Attorney Robert Carney said the use of surveillance cameras in the city helps prosecute criminals and help deter crime.
Carney said, in 2004, at the start of the county's surveillance project, a camera was put up near Tony's Market on Emmitt Street, and the number of police calls to the area have decreased 273 percent since that time.
The Metroplex Development Authority has given $73,000 to install eight cameras in the downtown area of the city near Metroplex's parking lots.
Metroplex director Ray Gillen said he hopes the cameras make visitors to downtown Schenectady feel safer.
\Downtown Schenectady is a growing arts, entertainment and technology district. Thousands of people come to downtown each day to work and to enjoy the performing arts, Gillen said. "We are pleased to cooperate with District Attorney Bob Carney's plan to install video cameras throughout downtown. This will help us offer visitors to the city a great experience each time they visit Proctors, the new cinema and many other downtown destinations."
Carney said he also hopes people will start to think of downtown Schenectady as a safe area.
"It is important for people to get out the message that downtown is safe," Carney said. "We know statistically that downtown is safe, and there are some places in Schenectady that are less safe than downtown, but the perception may not be the same."
Union College has given $20,000 to install three cameras near the college, Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, and Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, supplied $45,000 to install additional cameras in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood and $40,000 came from the Southgate Apartments for additional cameras there.