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A camera system that could help police to deter and solve crimes and provide more security may soon be added to downtown New Castle. 

Police Chief Bobby Salem at city council’s workshop last night presented information obtained at a National Crime Camera Program in New Orleans.

Salem said purchasing and installing at least 32 high-end cameras throughout the city plus construction of a monitoring station at the police department, could cost $12,510. This includes about $150 for 32 cameras, $1,950 for the monitoring station — each one-time investments — plus $5,760 per year to maintain the system. He said money to establish the system could come from forfeiture funds held by the police. 

This pleased council members who said they have no money in their budget or capital funds for such a program.

In New Orleans, he said, cameras monitor the city 24/7 through a Community Camera Program, and information is shared with other communities. Cameras, which could include options for  license plate readers and monitors identifying gunfire, he said, are installed on community buildings, businesses, churches and houses. He said he will discuss this with other police chiefs to see if there is interest in making this  program countywide.

Councilman Tom Smith, who is manager of Seven Fields Borough and administrator of the Evans City/Seven Fields Regional Police Department, said a system, which reads license plates has been installed at several intersections in his area.

Smith said he is concerned about data sharing capabilities with other jurisdictions which he said he does not think can happen without being part of a national database. He said he would like his Seven Fields police chief and Salem to talk to compare programs.


Nancy Lowry is a reporter at the New Castle News. Email her at

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