MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE) – Bastrop Mayor Henry Cotton is “taking a bite out of crime” with his comprehensive plan “Catch 22.”
Through the cameras, police can also track license plates up to a quarter-mile away and can do real ID on people within distance.
“We want people to know, if you do a crime in Bastrop with what we’ve got planned, we’re going to catch you,” Cotton said.
Cotton developed the plan in 2017 after he entered office. He said his goal is to do a thorough study on crime in the city and add new technology by 2022.
Already, the city has added cameras in parks, apartment complexes and intersections.
The cloud-based technology can be accessed anytime via smartphone apps by the police department to spot incidents and crime in real-time.
“The first 15 minutes after a crime has been committed is so important because often there’s no one there to see it,” he said.
Police can also track license plates up to a quarter-mile away and can do real ID on people within distance.
He said the police department has a list of 16 definite areas that will get cameras in the coming years in addition to the ones that are already present.
Cotton narrowed in on crimes over the last 10 years in a report from city-data, a statistics website for all cities in the U.S. It focuses on murders, robberies, rapes and other crimes.
In 2018, there were three murders in the city compared to 117 assaults and 635 thefts. These are all numbers that Cotton and Bastrop Police are working to eliminate.
For Bastrop resident Gerald Rhodes, he said he’s aware of the crime and wants the criminals to be held accountable.
“Just here last Friday, my wife pulled up in our driveway and somebody was out there trying to rob her,” Rhodes said.
In addition to the cameras, Cotton has been studying crime technology in other cities like New Orleans. One of those ideas is “shot spotter” technology.
With “shot spotter” devices, police will be able to detect gunfire and shootings based on sound, sight and location.
While they’re making strides to implement more cameras and one day have “shot spotters,” Cotton’s message is clear.
“If you shoot in Bastrop or if you commit a crime in Bastrop, we’ll probably know who you are,” Cotton said.