AUSTIN (KXAN) - Before a camera was installed on the utility poll overlooking D.R.'s Used Car lot, employee Sean Hill kept 911 on speed dial.
"I was a regular caller," said Hill. "I'd have to walk armed on the property at night and with my dogs."
But the High Activity Location Observation, or HALO, camera has reduced the amount of calls Hill has made since its installation in July 2011.
"Once they realized the cameras were not fakes, the activity went down," said Hill.
The Austin Police Department has also been happy with the cameras and is ready to expand.
The Austin City Council approved $750,000 for 10 new HALO cameras to be added to the 27 mounted downtown and the four in the Rundberg area.
Rundberg neighborhood comprises 5 percent of the city's population, yet 11 percent of overall violent crime.
The cameras have captured several crimes in progress, including drug deals, foot chases, assaults and a homicide near the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. They can zoom in close enough to clearly show the details of a person's tattoo.
A committee examining crime trends determined that the new cameras will not be placed in new areas, but rather fill in blind spots where the cameras already are mounted.
In three months, new HALO cameras will be concentrated largely in the downtown entertainment district west of Congress.
Crime camera locations
- 4 th and Lavaca
- 5 th and Lavaca
- 4 th and Sabine
- E.6 th and Trinity
- 4 th and Colorado
- 5 th and Colorado
- Two on W Hotel
- Two in Rundberg area
Hill said although the cameras have been successful stopping some crime, it simply pushes some crimes onto other areas.
"The drug dealers have adapted and taken customers to other areas," said Hill, who also believes the crime of prostitution is still very visible in the area.
APD released these statistics showing how often the HALO cameras utilized along with the Real Time Crime Center where live footage is monitored.
- 74 arrests have resulted due to activity captured by HALO cameras
- 571 viewed incidents resulted in officers being dispatched to the scene
- 205 incidents have been copied to DVD for evidentiary purposes
- 1,187 total incidents initiated and incidents requested
- Police launch crime camera program
- Cameras capture 6th Street assault
- HALO program paying off, police say
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