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$5M Bloomberg Grant To Provide Baltimore Police With More Cameras, Technology

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A $5 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping the Baltimore Police Department purchase new cameras, mobile license plate readers and gunshot detection technology.

"Equipping our police officers with the tools they need to fight and solve crime is a critical component of our violence reduction strategy," said Mayor Catherine Pugh. "This grant will help provide state-of-the-art equipment to our police force to ensure the safety of our city's citizens and visitors."

The grant will pay for 60 CCTV cameras, the largest single expansion of the project since 2012, bringing the citywide total to more than 800.  It will allow for a significant increase in coverage in several areas long plagued by gun violence, according to the mayor's office.

"One of the most common requests I receive from my constituents is for more vigilance and more cameras in our neighborhoods," said Council President Jack Young. "I'm extremely pleased to see the City directing resources to tools that have demonstrated success in keeping communities safe."

People in the community say they're not sure if that will change anything.

"With cameras, they're still going to do what they want to do. even with more police officers they're still going to do what they want to do," said Baltimore resident Domonique Shaw.

Others say the people of the crime-ravaged city, can't be left to fend for themselves.

"They need to do anything that's going to help because it's like the wild wild west," Nathaniel Bullock said.

An additional 25 mobile license plate readers will be installed on patrol cars, which will represent a 60 percent increase from the number currently in use.

The grant will also pay for 10 additional square miles of gunshot detection coverage, which helps police improve response times for shootings by pushing real-time alerts to officers on the street and making police aware of shooting incidents when 911 is not called.

The Baltimore Police Department has struggled when it comes to recruiting. The mayor says her goal is to have 3000 officers patrolling the streets.

Governor Larry Hogan said last week, that he will soon be sharing his own ideas to reduce violence in Baltimore.

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