NBC10 Philadelphia - Doug Shimell
Vonda Bowser's son was shot and killed under the police camera at 28th and Jefferson in North Philadelphia two years ago. Unfortunately the suspect was not caught on camera because the camera didn't work. NBC10's Doug Shimell talks to neighborhood residents who are angry about the broken cameras.
It’s been two years since Vonda Bowser’s son Linwood was shot and killed at 28th and Jefferson in North Philadelphia. Since his murder, no arrests have been made. Bowser tells NBC10 she believes her son’s killer would be in jail right now if the police camera positioned above the crime had been working.
“They have yet to convict the person that killed my son,” said Bowser. “Had those cameras been working I really believe they would have the conviction and the conviction of the other two murders.”
Community activist Ed Nelson and others in the neighborhood say both the camera at 28th and Jefferson and one down the block near Jefferson and Dover didn’t work.
“He got shot right here and that camera would’ve got him,” said Nelson. “We would’ve caught the crime in the act and then we would’ve had him in the getaway car!”
Residents in the neighborhood say they were furious when a recent city audit revealed many crime cameras citywide don’t work.
“They know it’s not working,” said Mary Gregory, Linwood’s cousin. “It hasn’t been working for a while so it’s easy to do things there and not get caught.”
Richard Dukes of Men United for a Better Philadelphia tells NBC10 he finds it ironic that there doesn’t seem to be problems with the city’s red light cameras which generate revenue.
“When something happens in the neighborhood there are no pictures,” said Dukes. “How are those cameras effective but cameras on these poles in the neighborhoods don’t work?”
The Mayor’s Office and police tell NBC10 they’ve hired a consultant who pledges to have 90% of the city’s crime cameras working by the fall. For Bowser, fixing the city’s crime cameras has become a personal crusade.
“I will never give up,” said Bowser. “I will keep fighting this battle. That’s the only fight I have left in me.”
The Mayor’s Office tells NBC10 they have fixed 129 of the 194 city crime cameras. They also say they believe the two cameras on Jefferson and Dover are now working.