By Erica Thomas, managing editor
CENTER POINT — The mayor of Center Point said he does not downplay crime in the city. In fact, Mayor Tom Henderson said the city is taking steps to decrease crime in city limits.
“We haven’t sat back and just done nothing,” said Henderson. “Plus, we hired two extra contract deputies. Now we have six.”
Mayor Henderson met with the Jefferson County sheriff and a chief deputy to discuss ways they can work together. They have installed cameras throughout the city to monitor high crime spots. The Metro Area Crime Center is able to watch the cameras, according to Henderson.
The city is also planning to install Flock Safety cameras, which will read car tags and alert authorities to any tags or cars reported stolen. Authorities can also make a “hot list” to be alerted for any vehicle entered into the system. Flock cameras have been used in several area cities, such as Trussville and Moody. The crime-fighting tool also sends an alert to patrols when anyone with an outstanding warrant drives by a tag reader.
Center Point’s four Flock cameras should be installed within the next two weeks.
Henderson said portable trailer cameras, that cost the city $140,000, are also in use.
“We’re able to move those cameras around in the neighborhoods, which we’ve done,” said Henderson. “We put them in the neighborhoods and had the people who were causing the trouble to move out because they were getting in trouble.”
The mayor receives a weekly incident report from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. It shows numbers of crimes, by category. Henderson said he doesn’t see a high number of crimes reported every week.
“If we have an incident like we had at Corey’s Barber Shop, everybody jumps on one incident and acts like it’s every day, which it’s not,” Henderson said. “But we are watching and I read those numbers every week.”
Henderson said crimes happen too often, and he wants to do what he can. He insisted he is not oblivious to what’s happening in and around Center Point.