Essex is taking action to deter violence along Eastern Boulevard by putting up more than 80 cameras on around 20 properties and businesses.
The new equipment feeds video to police in real time and they were installed because of longtime community members, like Clifford O’Connell.
“We’re still having some issues with some crime. I think these cameras will help solve some of the crime, maybe, I’m hoping, it deters the crimes,” O’Connell said.
Folks came together years ago to fight blight and crime along the boulevard, which evolved into the Essex Development Initiative.
“One of the things that we wanted to do was figure out how to deter crime, how to make the place safer so people would want to come and support the businesses that are in the commercial district,” said Essex Development Initiative Director Chrissy Erb.
Erb leads the program, which is part of the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce. They want to revitalize the community, and they’re making progress. One completed project was erecting the landmark sculpture at the community’s entrance.
They’ve now garnered $107,000 in grants for outdoor security cameras. Businesses, like the Essex Diner, applied to have them on their building, and every single applicant received some.
“Just our building, where we are, it’d be great to have. The cameras provide sort of a deterrence for crime. Not only that, but it’s also the safety aspect that brings people a little comfort knowing that we do have cameras that are involved with the county police and everything,” Essex Diner owner Luis Banegas said.
Security camera installations will continue over the next few weeks. The group plans to apply for more funding in the fall in hopes of expanding the project to more businesses.