The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the McKeesport Housing Authority $250,000 to address emergency, safety and security needs at its public housing properties.
“The grant was specifically earmarked for security upgrades,” said Housing Authority Director Steve Bucklew. “Physical costs like cameras, digital videos recorders, fences, lighting and that kind of stuff, that’s what we applied for.”
The money will be used to install a camera surveillance system and improved lighting at the Crawford Village Apartments, which has about 435 units in more than 40 buildings. Bucklew said this is an effort to prevent crime and drug activities and to protect the more than 1,000 people who live there.
“We’ve found that it does help prevent some crime," he said. "Where we have good camera coverage we have less crime. If there is crime we can, not always, but a fair amount of times catch the people committing the crimes.”
There are more than 150 cameras in common areas throughout various public housing developments in McKeesport, but there are no cameras in individual units as per privacy laws. Bucklew said security camera systems are a wise investment because they are very reliable and operate 24/7.
“What’s nice about these cameras that we’re going to be able to purchase is they give you much better video,” said Bucklew. “They’re able to operate in very low light. My belief is they definitely provide a higher level of security.”
McKeesport was one of 15 public housing authorities nationwide to receive a grant from HUD’s Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Program.