Traffic-enforcement cameras have been a common sight in Davenport for 13 years, but now the city is using new cameras for a different purpose: to help prevent and solve violent and property crimes.
Davenport in the past month has begun a pilot project with 18 cameras at four intersections on Washington Street south of Locust Street. The city purchased the cameras for nearly $54,000 as part of a larger neighborhood-revitalization program that also includes street and sidewalk improvements.
The idea is to see to what extent the cameras prevent crime, and how much they assist police in solving crimes that do occur.
But police surveillance cameras, in general, are not particularly good at deterring crime. They can be effective in certain circumstances, but not in the way Davenport is using them.