A Riverside trustee on Monday night urged his colleagues to consider investing in surveillance cameras near entrances to the village in order to help combat crime, but the cost of buying and maintaining such cameras had some board members shying away from the proposal.
“I realize it’s a long-range goal, but what I have in mind is cameras used solely for post-incident investigation, not traffic enforcement,” said Trustee Doug Pollock. “I think it’s an incredible law-enforcement tool.”
With Riverside experiencing scores of residential and vehicle burglaries in recent years, Pollock suggested that the cameras might help police identify vehicles coming to and from the village around the time burglaries are committed. Such a system has proven effective around subdivisions in the village of Burr Ridge, where Pollock works as community development director.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, who inspected the Burr Ridge system and talked with that village’s police chief, said the cameras were posted at the entrance/exit points of subdivisions where there is only one way in and out. The “unobtrusive” cameras provide not only a streaming video feed but can take high-resolution photos of license plates, even at night.
“They have made arrests in Burr Ridge from those cameras,” said Weitzel. “The incidents … they made arrests on were residential burglaries.”
Four cameras at the entrance/exit of each subdivision (two at each, one a video feed, one a license plate recognition camera) cost about $12,000, said Weitzel.
With the number of streets in and out of Riverside — there are about 20 — such a system would cost the village in excess of $200,000 to cover every entry/exit point in Riverside.
“It’d be a significant investment to do the whole village,” said Weitzel, who suggested that if the village board was interested, trustees could decide to choose a couple of high-traffic entry points, such as Longcommon Road and Harlem Avenue or Forest Avenue and First Avenue, and see if it’s worthwhile to expand.
Trustee Ellen Hamilton said she would be interested in exploring the use of the cameras at a limited number of spots, but Trustee Jean Sussman said she had no interest in the proposal.
Village President Ben Sells said he felt the expenditure of such a large sum of money for cameras was “$200,000 that can be better spent.”
But there appeared to be enough trustee support to investigate how such a camera system might fit into the 2015 budget — trustees Michael Foley and Patricia Julian Collins also indicated they were interested — that Sells, somewhat half-heartedly, suggested Village Manager Peter Scalera do more research on the subject.