DC mayor unveils plan to help residents buy security cameras, fund public safety projects

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D.C. leaders are taking action against the dangerous spike in crime in the city. The mayor announced a multi-million dollar plan to fund public safety projects.

The mayor hopes her plan will help police make a dent in the violent crime the District has seen in recent months.

It comes in the form of a supplemental budget program that will put more young people to work, fund community programs, get more police officers on the street and will help residents buy security cameras.

Surveillance cameras are helping police solve crimes and that is why city leaders want residents to have them and are willing to help out with the cost.

Councilmember Charles Allen is proposing a $100 tax incentive, but Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a sweeter deal -- a rebate of $250.

"We all know that cameras and footage really expand our public safety reach and our law enforcement reach," said Bowser.

For the new public safety programs, more than $23 million will be used to pay for cameras, police retention and help hire new employees at recreation centers where safety issues have been raised.

Just to give you an idea of the personal problems at recreation centers, Councilmember Allen said at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Northwest D.C., there are times when there are hundreds of people at this center, but only two people on staff are working.

"Often times in our recreation centers, there's nobody at the front desk," said Bowser.

Bowser will also put $8 million into the crime lab that has been plagued with problems. Her plan is to get sworn officers working in that building now.

"We are going to hire civilians to do that work at the crime lab and we are going to send 50 police officers back to the streets," said the mayor.

As for the security cameras, even if residents get assistance from the city to buy these cameras, they will not be forced to hand over recorded video. Instead, they will be added to a list and police will know who to ask in the event of a crime happening in the area.

This supplemental budget is not a done deal. The council will have to discuss it and approve it.

The money will be taken from a $117 million surplus announced earlier this year.