Posted: Oct 15, 2010 1:49 PM by Letitia Walker
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The city of New Orleans is dropping its crime camera program.
In seven years, the program has yielded six indictments. They include three for crimes caught on video and three for bribes and kickbacks a vendor is accused of paying a former city official to sell the cameras to city hall.
That record, the millions the cameras have cost the city, and
the fact they rarely worked, were enough reason for Mayor Mitch
Landrieu to end the troubled program.
Landrieu announced on Thursday his proposal to scratch the
program from the city budget.
"Most of us can agree that based on the way that they were
installed, based on the way that they operated and the way that
they were not maintained, that they were not a good investment,"
For now, the cameras will stay in place, but won't be
maintained. Landrieu said he wants to wait to see if they are ever
something they could use again before taking them down.
"When you really prioritize and you're asking whether that is
the best money spent on trying to make the streets safe, we
concluded given our financial pressures and our requirement to the
city that we not waste money, that that's not a good priority for
us," Landrieu said.
When Mayor Ray Nagin introduced the concept in 2003, the cameras
were touted as a way to make the streets of New Orleans safe.
Greg Meffert, who headed up the program, said New Orleans was
blazing a new crime-fighting trail.
Meffert and his wife Linda, currently face a 63-count federal
indictment charging them with a corruption scheme centered on the
crime camera deal.