City leaders hope to add SkyCop cameras to deter crime

City leaders hope to add SkyCop cameras to deter crime
Published: Apr. 4, 2016 at 10:01 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2016 at 9:58 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis homicide rate may be higher than ever before, but Memphis Police Department's solve rate is pretty high too.

MPD has solved 77 percent of the 61 homicides in 2016.

Yet, the department continues to work to find solutions to keep crime in check and stop criminals.

MPD is looking to add more SkyCop cameras. City Council is expected to discuss adding the SkyCop cameras at Tuesday's meeting.

A pole-mounted SkyCop camera keeps watch over the Belle Meade neighborhood in East Memphis where neighbors raised $131,000 for their own MPD-monitored system.

"They got fed up with the crime in their area and said, 'we're going to do this,'" Councilman Philip Spinosa said. He added that he was inspired by the community.

Spinosa is pitching a plan that would buy SkyCops for neighborhoods all over the city, rich or poor.

"The idea is to get 70 cameras and have them equally dispersed across all the districts," he said.

Spinosa plans to ask for initial support from fellow council members during Tuesday's meeting.

Numbers are still being crunched on the exact cost of the new cameras, which can run up to $8,000 each.

"There's some red light camera funding available; I think we may be able to use that," Spinosa said.

Interim MPD director Mike Rallings is behind the plan.

"I support investing in tools that will assist my officers in deterring and solving crimes through the city," Rallings said in a statement.

Currently, moveable and stationary SkyCop cameras are monitored by the city's Real Time Crime Center, which could soon keep tabs in even more areas.

Saturday, April 9, Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission wants to hear from you. The group is hosting a morning town hall meeting at LeMoyne-Owen College.

The meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Anyone who wants to discuss crime safety initiative and statistics is welcome to join.

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