scDataCom has expanded their newest initiative, “SafeCity”.
SafeCity is a community focused program dedicated to fostering the safety, revitalization and continued growth of local business corridors by implementing security and technology tools designed to protect our community in a time of crisis. High-quality cameras are placed in strategic locations throughout local business corridors in order to provide as many businesses as possible clear coverage of their facilities. During the COVID-19 Health Crisis, access to this footage is FREE and made available to participants in order to provide peace of mind to one of Savannah’s most valuable resource – it’s community of entrepreneurs.
“SafeCity is rooted in the idea of community, and of what you can do for your neighborhood – not what you can do for yourself. This initiative is our effort to pay it forward and to help provide for others using the resources that we have,” says Alaina Ford, Founder of scDataCom, “We had such a positive reception to our initial offering of six cameras, and so many people reaching out to us for help that we thought – let’s do more. We’re all in.”
Based on FBI crime data, Savannah has a higher crime rate than 68% of all other Georgia towns & cities (of all sizes). In 2019, the weekly average for property crimes in Savannah was 104 reported incidents/week and the weekly average for violent crime was 23 reported incidents/week.
Local business owners have expressed enthusiastic support for the SafeCity Initiative, especially those in the retail and hospitality industries.
According to the Savannah Economic Development Authority, Savannah’s Accommodation, Food Service and Retail Trades make up 26.5% of the local economy – and represent industries that have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns. Lee Heidel, owner of Neighborhood Comics, says his business model has changed due to the ongoing health crisis and that SafeCity has offered a level of relief, “Our hours that we are physically here at the shop have changed. Being able to set eyes on the outside of the store from wherever we are, is a big plus…in the event that something bad does happen, if there is a security issue here, having those resources and tools to help us follow up on that, to provide to law enforcement or to our neighbors is another selling point as well”. Lee endorses the program and became a SafeCity Advocate not only for the enhanced protection to his own business, but because “the idea that this whole [Bull St.] corridor could be connected is really interesting, in terms of what it could provide for all of us and to our customers.”
Studies show that surveillance programs have been especially successful in reducing the crime rate – potential criminals are much less likely to target a business if they know they are being watched and believe they are at a greater risk of apprehension. Highly visible cameras and signage are an especially effective crime reduction tool – similar programs in other cities, like Chicago, saw a 32% decrease in area crime within the first 3 months. A Detroit surveillance program, Project Greenlight, successfully decreased area crime by 40% in 2016, notably decreasing incidents of violent crime by 48%.
Belford’s Seafood and Steaks also jumped at the chance to participate as a SafeCity Advocate and now offers enhanced security coverage to both their facility and to their City Market Neighbors. “This is a wonderful program, installing the cameras gives us a great sense of security in our community” says Andrew Gromet, General Manager. “Especially with us being away from the business during this pandemic; It’s really a blessing”.
SafeCity installations began in late March and, to date, scDataCom has installed 5 free security surveillance systems that cumulatively provide coverage to 22 businesses. Plans for an additional 3 systems are underway and scDataCom will be conducting installs this week. Free remote-viewing access is being granted to both advocates and businesses within coverage areas throughout the mandated shutdowns, and business owners can log in securely via the SafeCity website: safecitysav.com/login.