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Cameras Cutting Down On Crime in University Area, Sheriff's Office Says

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is adding 10 more surveillance cameras to its arsenal.

The University Area of Tampa is one of the most densely populated and has among the highest crime rates in Tampa Bay.

Which is why about three years ago Hillsborough County Sheriff Major J.R. Burton worked to launch the "Eye On Crime" program. With a $1.3 million federal grant, the office purchased 20 closed-circuit television cameras and placed them throughout the University Area community.

The cameras are clearly visible, marked with Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office signs and have a blue strobe light on them.

The project has paid off, Burton said.

"We've seen some huge double reductions in crime in this area up here," he said. "It's strictly correlated. The day we put the cameras up, crime started going down. And the neighborhood really embraced it."

With that success, the office will be adding 10 more of the cameras in the neighborhood in the coming weeks in the same general area, but on existing Hillsborough County traffic poles.

The new cameras, which cost about $15,000 each, will be purchased by the Sheriff's Office.

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