City of Milwaukee plans to install more surveillance cameras

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The City of Milwaukee has made plans to install surveillance cameras all around town -- and they want businesses to help foot the bill. Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn joined a group of aldermen Friday, March 7th to unveil the program.

Milwaukee leaders want to set up around 500 new camera throughout the city in the hopes of preventing and solving crimes.

The plan was laid out at Wild Flour Bakery, where owner Melissa Ritchey was robbed at gunpoint in 2007. She was pregnant at the time. Both Ritchey and Milwaukee police say the surveillance camera she had installed helped lead to an immediate arrest.

"He was apprehended within minutes, just a couple blocks away," said Ritchey.

Authorities argue Ritchey's story is why it would be wise to spend $250,000 on new cameras around Milwaukee. Under the proposed plan, businesses -- or business improvement districts -- apply for the program and put up $1,200 per camera. which the City will match.

"While cost is often prohibitive, this program allows them to purchase surveillance camera programs at a very reduced cost," said Katie Sanders with Safe & Sound, Inc.

The funding will keep the camera on through the end of the year. Beyond that, Common Council President Michael Murphy says a public-private partnership can sustain the program.

"If it's proven a success, we'll certainly talk to private foundations and businesses about helping local businesses expand it," said Murphy.

Businesses will partner with the Milwaukee Police Department, who will be able to monitor live feeds of the cameras.

"We primarily use officers that are on some form of light duty to monitor the cameras. We've got officers at any given time who've been injured in the line of duty or perhaps sustained a sports injury, but we can use them for a program such as this," said Chief Flynn.

Mayor Barrett says he's not worried about the cameras creating a "big brother" type of environment. Both he and Chief Flynn say the City will only install cameras in public areas.

The City is taking applications through community group Safe & Sound.

CLICK HERE for more information on the program.

CLICK HERE to apply for the program.

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