LAFAYETTE -- Burglars and other criminals targeting Lafayette could soon be caught on a wider network of surveillance cameras spread throughout the city.
Members of the Crime Prevention Commission are looking at ways to reduce and solve the number of property crimes in Lafayette by studying the installation of closed-circuit television cameras at strategic locations throughout the city.
If approved by the City Council at a future date, those cameras could join a number of existing surveillance systems mounted in certain neighborhoods paid for and installed by concerned residents fed up with burglaries and other recurring property crimes.
While the 61 residential burglaries recorded in 2013 by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, from which the city contracts police services, was less than the 70 burglaries reported in 2012, criminals are still kicking and smashing -- but more often slipping -- their way into Lafayette homes for jewelry, electronics and other valuables.
Crime Prevention Commission chair Cameron Burks gave a progress report to the council this week on the group's analysis, before asking for more time to identify the best surveillance system for the community, including linking up with existing surveillance systems installed by residents in their neighborhoods.
"Our citizens, they're doing a tremendous job of protecting themselves and their neighbors with this technology," Burks told the council. "They're working very closely with an extremely effective police department when there's an incident."
Burks said the group has looked at three different CCTV systems, including mounted cameras that provide monitored and unmonitored recording; automated license plate readers; and cameras that can record both continuous moving and still images.
Estimated costs for those systems range from up to $600,000 for monitored and unmonitored recording cameras at a Highway 24 exit or entry point, to $700 for individual motion-activated still image cameras, according to a report.
The commission is suggesting placing cameras in neighborhoods rather than freeway entrances and exits to decrease the number of vehicles that would need to be analyzed during police investigations. Burks also said the group would study ways to combine different types of systems.
The council -- which tasked the commission with the study last year -- indicated it wants to hear more details about the proposal.
"The council would like to pursue this and get it more integrated," Vice Mayor Brandt Andersson said after city leaders backed reaching out to community groups who've already installed privately-funded cameras in their neighborhoods.
"It's more economical," said Councilman Mike Anderson about working with residents to identify gaps in already existing systems. Anderson suggested the city could possibly help fill those gaps through financial subsidies and other means "I support your continuing to look, but it sounds like we have a pretty good system already in place. We just have to link it all together," Anderson said.
The commission will return to the council in six months with their assessment.