Smile for the Camera

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City’s investment in additional cameras could pay off as crime deterrent

By Carolyn Roy and Juanice Gray

Motel 6

The two alleged “tulip bandits” who stole approximately $1,280 worth of tulips from downtown Natchitoches didn’t know about the City’s latest crime fighters. They didn’t know that a newly installed surveillance camera captured their foray in snatching the potted plants at 3 a.m. The women were allegedly attempting to sell the iconic blooms at locations in East Natchitoches. They were arrested and charged with theft. Police Chief Micky Dove said the City has mounted several cameras that are working well.

“It’s progress and is a partnership between the NPD and the City.” While the cameras captured the images of two women during the “tulip caper,” Dove said that was just the first step. “My detectives invested numerous hours identifying the suspects.”

The NPD news release concerning the incident said one of the suspects was taken into the police station after being arrested for an unrelated theft at Wal-Mart.

She was interviewed and confessed to taking the flowers. While the newest cameras have been positioned near downtown, Councilperson Mayor Lee Posey said the cameras will be utilized to “…address criminal activity in town.”

Councilman Eddie Harrington says he hopes to see cameras mounted in high-crime areas. Posey said Wednesday there will be an initial purchase of five-eight cameras with a goal to have them operational by June 1.

“They’re kind of expensive,” he said, adding he was applying for a grant to supplement the cost that will be funded within the City budget. Each camera comes with a price tag of $6,000-7,000. After the initial purchase, Posey hopes to add more cameras, for a total of 10-12. “We are working with law enforcement and hope there will be arrests out of it,” he said. “These (cameras) can lead to arrests and convictions.”