Two separate shootings in March caused uproar among residents in the Willmore/Drake Park Historic District.
A Willmore Neighborhood Association meeting in March was standing room only, and brought out the likes of Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and representatives from the Long Beach Police Department.
The result will be extra sets of eyes in the form of six security cameras. Long Beach officials this week installed the cameras at Drake Park, 951 Maine Ave., in order to promote public safety.
"These cameras and others are an additional layer of support in the city's public safety efforts, because they will serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals," Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement.
The first shooting occurred on March 13, leaving 23-year-old Nelson Suarez dead and another victim in critical condition at a local hospital after sustaining several gunshot wounds.
The second shooting on March 18 sent officers on a two-day search for reputed gang member, 24-year-old Juan Carlos Vasquez, of Long Beach, who was arrested on suspicion of firing at an officer. Vasquez is being held at the Long Beach Jail without bail.
The Willmore and Drake Park communities may have calmed down since the March violence, but the installation of high-definition cameras with pan, tilt and zoom capability that are programmed to cover the park and zoom in on designated areas couldn't come soon enough for residents.
"These cameras were a request of the Willmore and Drake Park community, and I am thankful to LBPD and our technology team for getting them up," said Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, who represents the area. "We now have a set of six additional eyes on the park at all times. "
Each of the six cameras are integrated into a citywide system, Long Beach Common Operating Picture, more commonly known as LB-COP.
The system integrates diverse databases, video feeds, criminal intelligence and collaboration between first responders and investigators. The network of cameras features real-time feeds at parks, beaches, business corridors and other locations, which can be combined with law enforcement data to give public safety officials background information on calls for service.
The cost for the six cameras was $27,000, paid for by infrastructure funds allocated to each council district. Officials for the city said cameras will continue to be added as resources become available.
"We encourage business owners and residents to participate in our Community Camera Partnership, which allows the Police Department access to their web-based camera feeds during reported crimes in progress and during the investigative follow up to the incident," Edward Kamlan, a spokesman from the city, said in a statement.
For more information on the cameras or the Community Camera Partnership program, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 562-570-5870.