CLEVELAND -- One Cleveland neighborhood feeling police budget cuts wanted to cut out crime. So they turned to cameras, and the plan is working.
The Edgewater Homeowner Association is protecting more than just their pride in the neighborhood.
"Looking out for each other is a big part of it too, but the cameras really help," said President Linda Meglin.
Budget cuts meant Cleveland Police were spending less time on their streets.
After a series of gutter and downspout thefts, Linda Meglin calls "Copper-Gate," the already engaged neighbors decided they wanted more.
Working with First District command, the neighborhood started pitching in and applied for a grant through the Cleveland Foundation's Neighborhood Connections.
"Raised the funds to match, plus some more, and went ahead and decided cameras were it," said Meglin.
"Through the cameras, we have multiplied our eyes and ears," said First District Commander Thomas McCartney.
Adding 35 cameras was like adding 35 officers to the neighborhood, but for about $14,000.
While the cameras aren't a cure-all, Commander Thomas McCartney says they can work, and they have -- with fewer crimes in this neighborhood. There's been only one incident since the cameras were installed in April.
"If you have a dedicated group, they can be successful. But it's the group that's successful; the cameras are just a tool the group uses," said McCartney.
Cleveland Police say the signs are enough to deter some criminals the rest are caught on tape. The cameras store more than a week of information.
"If you are going to come here and do something, you're going to be recorded. So that's probably the most effective way of getting our story out," said Meglin.
"You can never measure crime prevention because you don't know what you've prevented. We don't have a tool to do that," said McCartney. "But clearly on the follow up and investigation, it has been instrumental, and it's developed leads for other crimes that we may be looking for."
McCartney says this model could work in other neighborhoods, but first neighbors need to have a well-organized group with clearly defined goals. Then they might be able to use a tool like this to help.