RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Several high-definition security cameras are being installed in Shockoe Bottom in an effort to deter crime and enhance public safety.
The Shockoe Partnership, Venture Richmond and Richmond Police Department announced Wednesday a public-private partnership to enhance safety in Shockoe Bottom by installing five 360-degree cameras at various locations.
In an effort to curb the recent uptick in violence in the area — Data from Richmond Police show cases of aggravated assault have tripled since last year — officers recently began barricading streets and increasing patrols on weekends.
Business owners, however, told 8News they feel that measure negatively affects business and makes the area look dangerous.
In a joint release issued Wednesday, city leaders explained that Shockoe Bottom has also experienced a tremendous amount of redevelopment and is home to many downtown residents and businesses.
The area is a transportation hub and is serviced by Amtrak, the Megabus, GRTC and The Pulse.
The neighborhood has significant public amenities, such as The Virginia Capital Trail, Canal Walk, Main Street Station, and the soon to be completed 17th Street Market Plaza. The area is a magnet for thousands of residents and visitors who will greatly benefit from the safety enhancements.
“Shockoe Bottom is one of Richmond’s most historically and culturally-rich neighborhoods,” said Brian White, president of the Shockoe Partnership and head of Shockoe-based development firm Main Street Reality. “It’s already one of the city’s fastest-growing areas, but there is still so much untapped potential. These cameras are just another step in reaching that.”
Earlier this year, Richmond City Police Department Chief Alfred Durham suggested cameras for the area, but needed funding partners. Venture Richmond and The Shockoe Partnership offered to fund the safety initiative.
The cost of the cameras was $30,000 and was funded entirely by private money; the bill split between the Shockoe Partnership – a coalition of area business leaders committed to the preservation and enhancement of the historic Shockoe corridor – and Venture Richmond.
The cameras will be maintained and utilized by the City of Richmond and the Richmond Police Department.
“For years, cameras have been used in many other cities as an important tool for public safety. We are happy to help bring them to the Bottom and make the Chief’s vision a reality.” said Brian Jackson, Chairman of Venture Richmond and a partner with Hirschler Fleischer. “Hopefully, this public-private partnership can be a model replicated by other neighborhoods in the City that could benefit from a similar program.”
In total, five state-of-the-art, high-definition cameras were installed and are located at the following intersections:
• Intersection of 17th Street and Main Street observing north and east
• Intersection of 17th Street and Franklin Street observing north and west
• The 0000 block of 17th Street observing the Farmer’s Market and foot traffic from Walnut Alley
• Intersection of 18th Street and Main Street observing north and west
• Intersection of 18th Street and Franklin Street observing north and east
The five cameras are set to be in addition to another eight that will be installed as part of the renovations to the 17th Street Market Plaza.
Information gathered by the new cameras will be shared with a myriad of various organizations and businesses, including the Richmond Police and Fire Departments, the Department of Taxation, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and other Shockoe Bottom businesses.
The partnership hopes this will lead to greater coordination between local businesses and city and statewide organizations.
“I am pleased at how well we all worked together to make this happen,” said Richmond Police Department Chief Alfred Durham. “The enthusiastic support the RPD received from the Shockoe Partnership and Venture Richmond when I asked for funding for these safety cameras is a wonderful example of how public-private partnerships can work effectively to make our city safe.”