Ridgway looks to add security to fight rising crime rates in town

Local News

ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — One Elk county community is fighting back against rising crime rates in town, weighing the possibility of added security in the town. Ridgway officials presented a new idea at their most recent borough council meeting, added security features to its downtown area, which could include cameras and lights on Main Street.

The idea was first brought forth to the Ridgway borough manager Michael Handley by the Elk County District Attorney Thomas Coppolo. The borough council is now mulling the possibility of installing these cameras

“It’s a good tool. I really feel it’s going to advance our law enforcement and the safety of our community,” said Ralph Tettis, the chief of Ridgway police. Tettis is in favor of these camera installations, to assist with the growing concern of drug activity in town. “Every year it’s going up and up and up. And with the covid, it’s sort of enhanced it a little bit. We’ve got a lot of domestic going on and a lot of drug activity right on the main street. Right on everywhere.”

According to Tettis, there have been 132 drug-related incidents in town this year, including 35 drug arrests and 19 overdoses. He believes these cameras can help solve many cases in the future, as well as possibly lowering crime rates in Ridgway in general. Borough manager Michael Handley agrees.

“I think it would be good for the community to have that extra tool to assist law enforcement,” Handley said. “It is a work in progress right now, we don’t know all the fine details.”

Some residents have expressed concerns about privacy. However, Handley emphasized the cameras would only be used to assist law enforcement by utilizing the video footage in an investigation.

The cameras are estimated to cost between $1,800-$2,000 per camera. Which Handley said is a small cost for the borough to pay, compared to what the installations could do to to assist with the crime in town.

And Tettis added these cameras could go beyond just cases involving drugs.

“It’s going to help with traffic accidents. It’s going to help with if there’s a lost child that was seen on Main Street,” Tettis said.

Handley added that it’s still very early in talks about these installations, and said nothing has been approved by the borough. Handley said the borough has spoken with nearby municipalities, including Bradford, that already have these measures in place. After speaking with their officials, Handley estimates that if they went through with these camera installations, they would require less than 50 to cover the downtown area.

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