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Live surveillance system in Sherwood Forest neighborhood feeds straight to police

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BATON ROUGE – Live surveillance in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood is up and running. The cameras were recently put in place, along with license plate readers to stop crime.

"We've been saving our money, and we decided that we could do the entire project at once,” said Gary Patureau, the chairman of the Sherwood Forest Crime District.

Every year, the 3,147 homeowners in the neighborhood pay their crime district $75 in an effort to crack down on crime. That’s where the new cameras are coming from.

“If you look at a map of Sherwood Forest, the worst crimes are around our borders. And people wanted to feel safe,” said Patureau, who believes the majority of crime is coming from those who do not live in the neighborhood.

Right now, 13 cameras and license plate readers are set up. In the coming weeks, there will be a total of sixteen to cover every exit and entrance into the neighborhood. The live surveillance goes directly to the Baton Rouge Police Real Time Crime Center, creating a virtual neighborhood watch.

"The technology and smart cameras can differentiate between colors and different objects, so there's a lot of proactive things we can do with that. And the license reader as well," BRPD Chief Murphy Paul said.

The Sherwood Forest neighborhood knows the heartache crime can bring. Almost two years ago, beloved teacher and mother of three Nessa Hartley was fatally shot in her car after celebrating her birthday with a friend. Her killer has not been caught.

“I think hardening communities in certain areas has its benefits. So I think those who live in Sherwood Forest and those who join this program will feel safer," Chief Paul said.

A sense of safety is what the chairman of the crime district says drove the push to get this technology, and the city says other neighborhoods are following suit.

“Undoubtedly, we know the Sherwood Forest Crime District Camera Program will benefit citizens in our neighborhood as well as across Baton Rouge,” Patureau said. “We are building a digital defensive perimeter which other crime districts can emulate. Sherwood Forest has made the investment in partnership with Mayor Broome and Chief Paul. Now other neighborhoods need to simply purchase their own crime cameras and plug into the Real Time Crime Center.”

The Sherwood Forest Crime District is the largest in the state.

To further advance the project, the city is also asking residents who don’t live in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood but have cameras to allow BRPD access to their video when a crime happens. The homeowners would need to register to the Connect Blue Baton Rouge Directory, which will allow officers to quickly communicate with members and request the security video.

To join the directory, click here.

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