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Crime increase prompts ARHA to install security cameras in Old Town

After a number of its Old Town properties were hit by bullets Tuesday night, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority announced it is installing security cameras.

“We are installing cameras at our properties to send the signal that if you commit a crime at an ARHA site there’s a good chance a camera will capture it,” ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew said in a statement. “During our regular virtual townhalls, residents raised their concerns. That’s when we decided to do two things, install more cameras and identify several residents at each property to join a committee to start sharing information with each other to improve their neighborhoods by getting more involved.”

Security cameras have now been installed in the areas of Samuel Madden, Hopkins-Tancel Courts and along Yale Drive. Pendleton Park and Chatham Square will soon follow. Additionally, ARHA said that security cameras were installed at Andrew Adkins and the Ladrey senior high-rise several years ago.

Alexandria Police Department has also agreed to install “resident police officers” in ARHA communities.

“The idea to expand camera coverage came out of a conversation with resident leaders,” Pettigrew said. “That led to a more formal resident safety committee, and they have been fantastic in working with us and Alexandria city leadership.”

There has been an uptick in shootings over the past year, and many occurred at or near ARHA properties, some of which are near the Braddock Road Metro Station. Last fall, Alexandria police asked for the public’s help in identifying suspects.

Lauren Dupina, president of the ARHA’s Princess Square neighborhood group in Old Town West, said that the work will bridge the gap between police and Black and brown communities.

“The cameras will definitely be another tool in helping keep crime down, as long as they work, and these are new camera systems so they should work,” Dupina said. “They will make residents feel safer and cause people with bad intentions to think twice.”

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