Police say cameras installed in at-risk Kansas City neighborhood already paying dividends

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Seeing is believing.

Police in Kansas City are using a brand new series of surveillance cameras which have been installed in a neighborhood that's been labeled as being at-risk for a long time.

An extra set of eyes are already making a difference. It's been about a month since Kansas City leaders installed a new set of high-tech surveillance cameras up and down Independence Avenue. Kansas City Police Sgt. Pat Rauzi says that officers can control the cameras remotely -- panning, tilting and even zooming in --and they're helping police see more.

"Independence Avenue has had various crime problems throughout the decades," Sgt. Rauzi told FOX 4 News, while giving a brief detail of violent crimes in the neighborhood.

Sgt. Rauzi says eight cameras have been purchased during the past two years, thanks to money donated by the Northeast Chamber, and its use of CID tax funds. Rauzi says six of those cameras are brand new, and the two older ones, which have been in place on Independence Avenue have helped police.

"It's given critical information in regards to homicides. Having a picture of a vehicle, even though you may not get the license plates, that's still a critical piece of information. It's something we can get out to the public to help catch that offender," Sgt. Rauzi said.

Kansas City Police aren't divulging the location of all the cameras on Independence Avenue. However, one camera, which sits high above the intersection of Independence and Brooklyn Avenue, hangs just outside the Brooklyn Market.

"It's really helped. Now, the police are checking all the time," Humayun Sikandar, the market owner, commented.

Sikandar, a native of Pakistan, who has owned the store for three years, says neighbors know about that camera, and it's proving to be a deterrent to crime.

"The bad people are not here. The good people are coming. The business is growing. The bad people aren't coming to this area. They're scared to come up here," Sikandar said.

"We do interviews like this to let the criminal element in the city know, 'Hey, this is not acceptable on the Avenue, and we're going to do what we can to capture you'," Sgt. Rauzi said.

Sgt. Rauzi says the cameras on Independence Avenue are not the end. He says city leaders are planning to install more cameras in other parts of the city, but for now, those locations are a secret.