Neighborhood Safety

The STREET Neighborhood Safety System video monitors the neighborhood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Developed February 1993

The ten houses on both sides of a block get together for a meeting. They each contribute about $100 total. With this $1,000, the group buys this collection of electronic equipment, (through any of many stores) which includes:

  • 2 Black-and White Low-Light, outdoor Video Cameras
  • 2 Video Recorders
  • 28 blank 6-hour Videotapes
  • 400 feet of co-axial cable

When the equipment arrives, the group mounts the cameras high on utility poles or trees at the ends of the block, pointing inward along the street (toward the middle of the block). The town or the phone or utility company might even volunteer to mount these for the positive Public Relations image they would gain. The coaxial cables would be connected to the cameras and run into one of the homes. NOT AN OUTSIDE MONITORING SERVICE, which might not care so intensely about the safety of that individual block. The chosen resident in that house should be very responsible and dependable, and generally home. (A retired resident would seem ideal.) (Two DIFFERENT homes might also make sense, in case the tape-tender was forgetful, or ill or away some times.

The videotapes would be labeled by day and shift, as "Monday 6am-noon. " The resident who is the tape-tender would take out the previous tape and insert and start the next shift's tape. (More recently, with digital recording, the images might be fed onto a CD-ROM by computer control.

At any instant, the group would have a continuous video record of the previous entire week. As long as nothing bad happened to any of the houses, cars or people during the previous week, a week later, the tapes would be erased and re-recorded, with no one ever having seen it.

If anyone on the block experienced rape or assault, there would be a video record for Police to use to help apprehend the criminal and for the courts to use in convicting him. If anyone experienced vandalism or robbery, a home owner may not immediately know it. (They probably weren't home.) When they get back after a weekend and discovered such a crime, the group would be called together for a block meeting. Once the approximate time of the crime was known, the group would view the fast-forwarded tape. The idea would be to identify most of the vehicles seen traveling down the block. Of course, videotape of the actual stealing of a TV could be caught, but if the criminal is more subtle, suspicious vehicles could also be identified.

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Each time a suspicious vehicle was seen, the license plate could be viewed and written down, along with a description of the vehicle. By having cameras at both ends of the street, it is reasonably certain to have recorded a view of the license plate. Nearly all the vehicles seen on that tape would probably be identified by the viewing group, eliminating them from suspicion.

The remaining (short) list of these license plate numbers and descriptions would be given to the Police. They could quickly identify the owners of the suspicious vehicles. The Police would need to spend far less time tracking such criminals, encouraging them to be more aggressive about following up on leads we give them.

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Currently, the conviction rates for such crimes is so low that criminals expect to get away. They expect to not get caught in the first place. If caught or later found by the Police, they expect not to be charged with the crime, unless the resident witnesses are willing to spend a LOT of their time filling out paperwork and viewing Police lineups. If charged, they expect to not be convicted, because it could be their word against that of any witnesses. Therefore, they feel free to burglarize, rob, rape or assault at will.

STREET will changer all that. In the same way that Police video records of drunk drivers has caused many violators to plead guilty when they view the video-tape, we see the same potential value in our neighborhoods. The video-tapes created by the STREET system will:

Criminals will NOT want to come to your neighborhood!

With this system, the likelihood of recovering stolen property is greatly increased. But more importantly, criminals might think twice before even trying crime on that block! Less ATTEMPTS at crime mean A SAFER NEIGHBORHOOD! Your property, your wife, your kids, and your property, will all be safer!

This system is effective against ALL types of crime! Whether drive-by shootings or vandalism or robbery or personal attack, all will be minimized, and when not, prosecuted!

Another Bonus! Insurance companies might offer reduced premiums for homes on blocks protected by the STREET system. If they would reduce the annual premium by $50, then after two years, the original cost of the STREET system would be gained back. After that, the $50 premium reduction would just go into the home-owners' pockets!

First Developed, Feb 1993,
First Published on the Web: May 14, 1997

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