City installs security cameras along portion of Schuylkill River Trail

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Crews were busy digging trenches for buried cables along the Schuylkill River Trail in Center City Wednesday.

Officials said this is the first step in installing 21 new security cameras along the Schuylkill Banks portion of the trail.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's office came up with half the $150,000 cost of the cameras, the other half of the funding came for Council President Darrell Clarke's office.

"Over the past two years we had maybe four, five, or six incidents," said Johnson. "At the end of the day we don't want any incidents to take place."

The installation comes on the heels of reports of women being assaulted or robbed by groups of teens along the trail, with the most recent incident occurring just last week.

"All of a sudden, I felt someone grope me," a woman who did not wish to be identified told Action News. "I turned around and there was a boy laughing at me."

Johnson said he first worked with the city to improve trail lighting and increase police patrols and now install the cameras.

For now the cameras will only record images to be viewed later, but Johnson said he is pushing to get someone to monitor the cameras in real time. He said that the cameras still have value despite this shortcoming.

"A lot of people say 'Well, if you are not having a live feed of the actual information of the cameras how can it be effective?'" said Johnson. "The police officers can actually use this footage in reviewing who is hanging out on this trail on a day-to-day basis."

Officials said the cameras should be up and running within the next two weeks.

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