Cameras in historic Davenport neighborhood making residents feel safer

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- More than two years after cameras were installed in a historic Davenport neighborhood, businesses and residents say they are feeling safer.

Ricky Piatt has owned a body shop in the neighborhood for about a decade. He's also president of the Historical Washington Street Association.

"I work with the police quite often. They come to our monthly meetings every month," said Piatt.

He said he welcomed the City of Davenport's decision to bring surveillance cameras to the Washington Street corridor between Clay and 17th Streets two years ago.

Piatt says while problems remain, the cameras that were mounted have had an impact.

"There's been a drop in some of the crimes. Again the officers have stepped up patrols. They come up to do bicycle patrols. They have unmarked units in the area."

Officer Joseph Dorton whose unit patrols the area says the cameras are just one tool to help police and neighbors deter and solve crimes.

"Last October, we had shots fired, I was able to get on the city camera, get a license plate number, get a picture of the actual suspect and incident. I used the cameras of businesses to help solve the case."-Officer Joseph Dorton

Down the street, another business owner says the police presence has created a virtuous cycle.

"Everybody is fixing up their place, they're landscaping their homes," said Kim Dopler, one of four owners of Johnnie's Meat Market. "Our business has gone up the last couple of years. We think all of that kinda works together to make a nicer and safer neighborhood."

Piatt wants to see more cameras here and in other parts of the city.

"Get involved with your neighborhood. It takes community involvement to make things work. You gotta pay attention, you gotta ask questions. If you're not sure about something, call. Go to council meetings. Become part of your city," pleaded Piatt.

The Davenport Police Department has installed additional cameras since the pilot program began and they say it's helping with crime outside the area as well.

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