PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Philadelphia’s Olde Richmond neighborhood is fighting back against home burglaries—many of which are committed by those looking for cash to feed an ever-growing drug epidemic.
The neighborhood-- bounded by York street, Trenton, Lehigh and the Delaware river— is using grant money from the Penn Treaty Special Services District to provide free security cameras to homeowners all over the neighborhood. Seventy-five homes have already been outfitted.
"The idea here was to kind of bridge the gap,” says association secretary Dan Martino, “so that residents still feel like they're safe, living in the community and they don't have to rely on the police all the time."
For a while, even the installation is free.
"I'm calling it the 'Summer of Safety Sales Event.' I've seen too many commercials, says Martino with a chuckle.
Gerard Miles was a perfect candidate for the program: he has a corner lot, so his cameras can cover twice the territory. Miles signed up for the cameras after watching thieves break into a dozen cars on his block in one night. A short time later, his car was vandalized.
"Enough's enough," Miles told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon.
So he’s fighting back. “Trying. Yeah! At least deterring."
Miles paid for his own installation, in exchange for high-definition cameras.
Like everyone in the free-camera program, Gerard agrees to share his footage with police or neighbors, in the event of an incident.
"When things get messed up or stolen, any neighbor wants the footage, I'll show it to them," he says. “It’s amazing.”
Dan Martino is looking to put a security camera on every block in Olde Richmond. Year-to-date in 2015, the neighborhood had seen 25 residential burglaries In 2016, that number fell to 19. And this year-to-date Just 13.
The message to thieves and vandals is clear: “you'll be recorded and you'll be caught.”
"Nobody wants to live in a crime-ridden neighborhood,” says Martino. “And anything that the police can do and we can do and anything we can do to help police, people are all about."