East Hills eyes cameras as security solution

The Island Now

At Tuesday’s board meeting, East Hills officials presented the idea of placing security cameras in the village to deter crime.

A village security committee proposed installing 99 cameras at 33 locations, largely focusing on road entrances and exits to East Hills. The committee was formed in December after a robbery and an attempted burglary  in the village.

 Steve Mussman, a resident whose wife was robbed in one of the December incidents, is co-chair of the committee, and he with other residents gathered over the past few months to discuss ways to enhance public safety in the village.

“We really discussed a lot of different areas, and when it came down to it, we thought incorporating cameras into the community made a lot of sense,” he said.

The cost for equipment and installation of the cameras is estimated to be $320,000, Mussman said. Nothing has been made official in terms of going forward with the idea, and it was presented to gather input from residents.

“We live in a very safe community,” Deputy Mayor Manny Zuckerman said. “We don’t have any kind of a problem with regard to burglaries or robberies. We’re probably the safest community on Long Island, and what we’re doing tonight is something that this administration has always tried to do, and that is be proactive. We’re trying to be ahead of the curve and come up with ideas to make this community continue to be safe.”

Zuckerman said the cameras would serve mostly as a deterrent. If suspects are successfully found with the help of video coverage, criminals would be less likely to rob in East Hills, he said.

“Whenever there’s an incident in the city, right away they run to the video cameras to see who it is,” Zuckerman said.

A suspect from one of the December incidents was caught because of video footage from a camera in Wheatley Plaza, Mussman said. If there were cameras in the area where the crime took place, the suspect could have been found easier and more quickly, he said.

The village brought in a surveillance tech firm, A+ Technology and Security Solutions, to  determine the best way to install cameras.

The firm’s president, David Antar, said it would install 33 camera poles throughout the village, with three cameras on each pole. Two cameras would focus on the road to capture license plates of cars, and the third would have a 360-degree view, he said.

“On the news you look at all the video coverage and how they’re able to find people,” Antar said. “Half the time the videos are horrible, the quality is very poor, and what we specialize in is high-definition, high-quality video.”

The cameras would be wired to a central location where the video feeds can be viewed on a monitor, and over 30 days worth of footage can be stored, he said.

The next step for the trustees will be to look at how to fund the cameras.

Mayor Michael Koblenz froze village taxes, and said he doesn’t plan on raising them for the camera system. Zuckerman said the trustees will see if there are any state grants available to help fund the cameras.

There will not be a vote on the proposal until funding for the project is decided.

by Chris Adams

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