Police and municipal efforts to safeguard downtown Lafayette should bolster the confidence of business people, residents, diners and shoppers.
Recent announcements that Lafayette police are connecting downtown cameras into a crimefighting network is the latest good news for people who live, work and enjoy the area that stretches roughly from near the Thruway to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette area, from Johnston Street to around Congress Street.
Anita Begnaud, CEO of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, said the area needs police presence, bright lighting and cameras to discourage people who would commit crimes. All urban areas — Baton Rouge and New Orleans, too — need such advantages. She said police themselves can’t be everywhere, but pluses like better street lighting and the camera network are making law-abiding people feel safer.
“The perception of safety is critically important for those working, living and eating downtown,” Begnaud said. In addition to cameras and lighting, police have opened a precinct at the highly visible Rosa Parks Transportation Center downtown. That dedicated space houses not only police, but also the K-9 unit.
Police Sgt. Brad Robin said the network of cameras — some 500 to 600 cameras have been onboarded citywide in a cloud-based system — gives law enforcement officers a new tool that helps with solving crimes and deploying officers.
“This will only increase safety, reduce response time and give better opportunities to keep patrons and people downtown safer,” said Jamie Angelle, city spokesperson. “It’s nice to have an increased presence, which enhances our capabilities.”
It’s more than nice for downtown investors who have weathered the pandemic to hold, reopen or develop their properties downtown. Lafayette’s downtown is reviving itself as a residential area as well as a business area, and prospective renters and homebuyers should relish the sight of a connected, visible and assertive police force.