Surveillance cameras now watch over Drake Park in Long Beach, after a spike in crime prompted city leaders to move forward with the installation. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 25, 2013.
A recent spike in crime in one Long Beach community prompted city leaders to install six new surveillance cameras at a neighborhood park.
The cameras, which were installed earlier this month at Drake Park on Maine Avenue and 9th Street in the city's historic Willmore district, cost the city $30,000, according to Vice Mayor Robert Garcia.
Kathleen Irvine, president of Willmore City Heritage Association, works to maintain the area's history and "charm." She has noticed the increase crime in the area.
"Unfortunately, as in any city, there have been some bad apples," Irvine said. "And there have been some in this area."
Last month, there were two shootings in the area around Drake Park, on March 13 and March 18. The incidents were being investigated as possibly gang-related, according to police. The surveillance cameras, which were discussed prior to the shootings, were installed about a month later. The video feeds into the Long Beach police department.
"It makes me a little nervous to know they're watching all the time," said Jennifer Miller, who has lived near Drake Park for four years.
But other residents welcome the added security, said Allen Rizi, who owns the 5 and Dimes store on West 10th Street.
"I've seen less crime and less graffiti on the walls," Rizi said. "The neighborhood, we had a lot of problems 20 years ago, but now I think every day is improving."
Long Beach is seeing its lowest violent crime rate in forty years, according to police. While violent crime is down year-to-date by 12.5 percent compared to 2012, murders are up. With the help of the cameras, the city and police plan to keep an eye on the recent violence near Drake Park, but did not call it a trend.