More Memphis neighborhoods want SkyCop Cameras to help fight crime

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- They are the eyes in the sky watching many Memphis neighborhood and businesses. SkyCop surveillance cameras seem to be almost everywhere.

Homeowners such as Floyd Page said rising crime in the Riverside community makes it a perfect candidate for a SkyCop.

"I don't think the people in this neighborhood can afford it. Every day I come home my windows knocked out, vandalism in the house, broke in side door. We need protection," Page said.

The issue of installing more SkyCops came up at the Memphis City Council Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee meeting.

Two resolutions were presented to install four SkyCops at 6450 Poplar and a new SkyCop on Gwynne Road.

Jamita Swearengen is a Memphis City Councilmember

"It's quite fortunate that those areas are able to come up with the funding for it. Whereas the inner city, they are deprived and can't be afforded to have the same luxury," Swearengen said.

Some neighborhoods have raised their own to money to help buy the cameras, but Councilman Berlin Boyd said others don't have those resources.

"I think it goes without saying people in my District- District 7, 4 and 6- can't afford to give a philanthropic donation to buy or purchase cameras so they can be installed," Boyd said.

The City Council has what's called the Sentinel Program. Seventy cameras are to be divided evenly with each City Council district getting ten cameras, but that's for the entire district and not a neighborhood.

City Councilman Philip Spinosa said he understands the need to make sure all neighborhoods have a fair chance at getting a camera.

"We as a City Council need to be providing cameras to the highest crime areas in the city, so that's what we all voted on, and the Sentinel Program is approved and moving forward with 70 cameras dispersed," Spinosa said.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said more SkyCops are needed.

"We are going to work as soon as we can to get what I call them City Council cameras in the neighborhoods that most need them and those are impoverished neighborhoods.