By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
City officials approached managers after neighbors of the park complained in October about drug activity and violence, noting they have found drug paraphernalia in their yards and saw people coming from the 200-apartment complex running through their properties.
“We’re going to put up cameras,” said Randy Hillard, senior vice president for NDC Real Estate, which manages the complex.
There are cameras posted on the property, but they will be upgraded and more will be installed, particularly at the entrances to the complex, he said. The cameras will take sharper images that will allow license plate numbers to be seen, something the current cameras cannot do.
The system also will allow Hermitage police to access the camera images from the police station, Hillard said. In many cases, police have to ask businesses that have surveillance cameras to provide discs of images, something that takes time.
Hillard said he expects the cameras will be installed “when the weather breaks.”
“I think cameras are a good start, a good deterrent,” said city Commissioner Duane J. Piccirilli, who sat in at the meeting.
Hillard said management will take other steps, but did not want to discuss them publicly.
Piccirilli told commissioners apartment management also will “address the perpetrators,” and be more strict in enforcing their regulations.
“I think he was trying to be accommodating to the residents of the housing units and the neighbors,” Piccirilli said, noting that Hillard said the cameras and other changes are techniques that have been used successfully in other apartment complexes.
Shenango Park resident Maxine Peagler said she wished management had involved tenants in the discussion. While she appreciated more cameras, she said she would like to see them within the apartment buildings.
“They are nowhere where the tenants are, and that’s a problem,” she said.
Currently, cameras are placed at the office, the laundry room and the mailboxes, she said.
Peagler said she is hoping a tenant group will form with the intent of addressing safety issues.