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Widener Partners on Security Camera Initiative in Chester

Widener's 140 outdoor security cameras will be included with a network of new security cameras in Chester to help reduce crime in the city.

Widener University is working with the city of Chester, the Institute for Economic Development, and other public and private partners to launch a multi-phase initiative to install outdoor security cameras in Chester, Pa. to help reduce crime in the city.

Work will begin soon to install cameras in Sun Hill section of Chester from 14th Street to Glen Terrace and from Melrose Avenue to Ridley Avenue. Dozens of cameras will be installed covering 10 city blocks with 369 households. About 150 Widener students live in Sun Hill.

Security cameras will also be installed in much of the area between Providence and Edgmont Avenues from 18th to 24th Streets. About 100 cameras will be installed in this section covering 15 city blocks.

Widener President James T. Harris III said the university invested in the initiative as part of its civic engagement mission and said that the first phase of the project will serve as a model for expansion of the initiative into other parts of Chester.

“An important part of Widener’s mission is to contribute to the vitality and well-being of the communities we serve,” Harris said. “The safety and security of the people who live and work in Chester is critical to the future of the city. We will continue to work with the city and our partners to ensure the success of this initiative.”

The cost of this first phase of the initiative is about $1.1 million which will be covered by a $750,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and $350,000 in matching funds from Widener ($300,000) and the city of Chester ($50,000).

Once installed and operational, the cameras will be centralized through the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center and accessible by the Chester Police Department. The Widener campus already has about 140 outdoor security cameras which will also become part of the security camera network.

Mark Dambly, chairman of the board for the Institute for Economic Development which will administer the PennDOT grant, said the security camera initiative has been a collaborative effort involving the city of Chester, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, and members of the IED including Widener, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Harrah’s Casino.

“Chester offers first-class businesses and institutions such as Widener University, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, the Philadelphia Union and Harrah’s Casino,” Dambly said. “Residents of Chester and visitors to the city deserve the same kind of first-class experience when it comes to safety and security. This initiative is a vital step in the continuing economic development and revitalization of Chester.”

The grant application was supported by Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9). “This grant will help continue the positive momentum we’ve seen in Chester in recent years,” Pileggi said. “I strongly supported this application and I’m pleased that PennDOT approved the funding. I want to commend Widener University and the Crozer-Chester Medical Center for partnering to make the application as strong as possible.”

Widener also recently contracted with AlliedBarton Security Services to provide an enhanced security presence in the Sun Hill section of Chester. Allied Barton security officers conduct regular bicycle patrols during evening hours seven days a week during the academic year. They also provide escorts for students upon request between the designated patrol area and the campus.