The Lancaster Safety Coalition is increasing its surveillance in the city as part of a project that will boost its number of public safety cameras to 187.
The new four-way, “ultra-high definition” cameras will be installed over the next two years.
The nonprofit’s first major upgrade since the current 170 cameras were installed 15 years ago is being funded by a $2.5 million capital campaign.
The Coalition formed after a 2001 Lancaster Crime Commission report concluded city residents preferred an entity to manage the cameras independent of the city, county and law enforcement agencies, according to a press release from the nonprofit.
The new system will allow Coalition staff to deliver video footage to law enforcement and emergency medical services faster, according to the press release.
“The 360-degree cameras capture so much more than the old one,” said Tim Miller, the Coalition’s executive director. “Despite many replacements to go, we have already provided more evidence in the first three quarters of this year than any other year of operation.”
Staff at the nonprofit monitor the cameras 18 hours a day, every day, according to the press release.
The Coalition will upgrade other equipment as well, including a new data server.
But the cameras aren’t just used for gathering evidence of potential crimes or monitoring suspected criminal activity, according to the Coalition. Over the last 15 years, the cameras have also helped find a lost child, exonerated two men of attacking a woman they were trying to help and spotted potential weapons before they were used in protests last summer.
The surveillance system does not make use of facial recognition, according to the Coalition, and it digitally removes observation of backyards and second-story windows.
Major contributors to the capital campaign include the Steinman Foundation – a local, independent family foundation funded by the companies that make up Steinman Communications; those companies include LNP Media Group, publisher of LNP | LancasterOnline.
A map of camera locations is available on the Coalition’s website, lancastersafetycoalition.org.