High-Resolution Cameras and License Plate Readers Coming Soon

Breaking the law and getting away with it is about to get harder in Martin City thanks to a plan to install new surveillance technology at key intersections. Our neighborhood already enjoys a reputation for banding together to keep streets safe, and the addition of traffic cameras and license plate readers will make our crime-fighting effort even stronger.

“When you look at the raw data, Martin City fares pretty well in comparison to the rest of the City on the whole,” says Major James Buck, Commander of Kansas City’s South Patrol, which includes Martin City. “But the area’s not immune to crime, so we’re working with the community to do more.”

Major James Buck, KCPD South Patrol Commander

It’s no secret that crime is generally on the rise across the country. Break-ins, car thefts, and the theft of business equipment are among the challenges in Kansas City and scores of other cities. We’ve seen a few incidents recently in our neighborhood, and the Martin City Community Improvement District (MCCID) didn’t waste time reaching out to the Kansas City Missouri Police Department for guidance.

MCCID Board members put their heads together with Major Buck and our neighborhood’s Community Interaction Officers, Mary McCall and Aaron Whitehead, to determine what else could be done. The implementation of cameras and license plate readers emerged as a smart and practical strategy to augment daytime police patrols and private security patrols overnight.

“Ensuring safety is essential for Martin City’s continued growth and development,” says Martin City District Manager Vickie Wolgast. “It’s part of the foundation of our neighborhood’s revitalization. We want every resident and business owner to have everything they need to feel protected, and these devices are well worth the investment.”

“Martin City is already an incredibly engaged community, which really goes a long way in deterring crime,” says Buck. “I think traffic cameras and license plate readers are a logical next step.”

(left to right) Officer Aaron Whitehead, Officer Mary McCall, Martin City District Manager Vickie Wolgast, Major James Buck

Picture Faster Police Responses and Investigations

The MCCID purchased the surveillance devices and will hand them off to police for installation and operation at the intersections of 135th Street and Holmes Road, and 135th and Inverness Drive/Washington Avenue. At those locations on opposite ends of our neighborhood, the devices will be able to track most of the traffic flowing through our neighborhood.

The cameras will capture visual activity across a wide field of view while the readers will specifically focus on capturing license plate information and feeding it into the police department’s license plate data system. Both devices ensure extremely high resolution images, even at long distances. Major Buck sees two key advantages.

“First of all, the devices are a deterrent. Knowing they’re there should make you think twice because escaping detection will be extremely difficult. Secondly, they speed up response times when a crime has occurred, which can make or break an investigation in some cases.”

If a crime happens in our neighborhood and police are notified, they’ll be able to immediately check the cameras and the readers to identify escaping vehicles. “The sooner we can identify the vehicle involved and which direction its heading, the better the chance of us catching up quickly. It’s that simple,” says Buck. “Without these devices, our investigation gets off to a slower start. Technology offers efficiency, and that’s critical, especially while understaffing is such a problem.”

135th and Inverness Drive/Washington Avenue on Martin City’s east side.

135th Street and Holmes Road on Martin City’s west side.

MCCID Advantage In Focus

You can expect the cameras and readers at 135th and Holmes Road to coincide with the scheduled overhaul of Holmes Road. In addition to street, bike path, and sidewalk improvements, the overhaul will bring underlying infrastructure improvements, including the introduction of high speed fiber that the devices need. The right infrastructure is probably already in place at 135th and Inverness Drive/Washington Avenue, so those devices may come online sooner.

Cameras and readers will be new to Martin City, but the technologies are not new around the area. Local police departments, municipalities, and highway departments are among entities with similar devices strung up all over the metropolitan area. They’re not cheap. The MCCID is investing tens of thousands of dollars, a cost that would otherwise be much harder to cover.

“By having a CID, Martin City can come up with the money quicker because the CID is built for helping with these kinds of solutions, and budgets neighborhood tax revenue to cover them,” says Buck. “Otherwise, it would likely just be up to local businesses to pool a large amount of money like this on their own, and that’s a very difficult route to go. Plus, the CID can help move the entire process along quicker. It’s a big advantage.”

“The MCCID Board is always mindful of every dollar it spends,” says Wolgast. “We’re careful to spend money where it makes the most sense and will likely make an important difference. That’s why we embraced the opportunity to purchase these devices and we’re grateful for the KCPD’s commitment to getting everything up and running.”

“It’s a great example of a community partnership,” adds Buck. “It shows tremendous cooperation and the willingness of the local community to step up and do its part to help make one of Kansas City’s best neighborhoods even better. Martin City has new businesses opening and new apartments under construction. These cameras and readers are going to prove to be tremendous security assets as the neighborhood grows.”

Martin City’s annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day highlights a strong community partnership.

One final thought from Major Buck that every business owner should consider. “The addition of these devices is a reminder of the power of video cameras. Don’t hesitate to install security cameras on your own property. Video is an extremely powerful tool for keeping your business safe and bringing criminals to justice.”