L.A. to install 130 cameras in housing projects

LOS ANGELES The /*Los Angeles Police Department*/ may not have the manpower to have patrol cars make a permanent presence in known crime-plagued areas, like the /*Nickerson Gardens*/ housing development in Watts, but what they do have are eyes in the sky.

With the help of federal stimulus money, police are installing safety cameras credited with reducing crime where they are already in use.

"We are doing more to insure our police department has the resources it needs to secure our families," Mayor /*Antonio Villaraigosa*/ said.

Police said the cameras will be strategically placed at Nickerson Gardens in about a month.

"When used properly, and that's the key word, it has a hugely positive effect on public safety," LAPD Chief /*Charlie Beck*/ said.

Residents at /*Jordan Downs*/, where the cameras were installed about four years ago, said they have been effective.

"We don't have any crime like we have had four years ago," said Betty Day, a Jordan Downs resident. "The cameras really do work. People found that out. If you commit a crime, next thing you see, you're down at the police department."

According to officials, nearly 130 safety cameras will go up in four housing public developments, including the Nickerson Gardens, /*Ramona Gardens*/, /*Imperial Courts*/ and an expansion of cameras at Jordan Downs.

"There has been a documented decrease of crime of 40 percent of the Jordan Downs since the cameras went up," said /*Rudolf Montiel*/, the head of the /*Housing Authority*/.

The LAPD can control the cameras, which feed into their police stations.

"They cannot only monitor what's happening, but actually direct cameras if there is a crime in process to get license plates, pictures of the people committing crimes," Montiel said.

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