Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez and Lehigh University interim President Kevin Clayton on Tuesday announced a partnership that will bring up to 12 new security cameras to neighborhoods where off-campus students reside.
The cameras, a $100,000-$150,000 investment on Lehigh's part, will be hooked into the city's 911 communication system, and the city will pick up the annual electric bill of about $500 per camera.
Arriving in the next month, the cameras will complement the 54 that Lehigh installed on and around its South Side campus, and the 80 cameras Bethlehem operates throughout the city.
"If we work closely together, our efforts are multiplied, and our impact on south Bethlehem is felt not only by the students but by all the residents in the community," Clayton said, standing next to Donchez at a news conference at Martin Luther King Park on Carlton Street.
Donchez said the city's partnership with Lehigh would "greatly enhance the city's public safety arsenal to protect and enhance the quality of life in this community."
Clayton and Donchez were joined by Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio, Lehigh University police Chief Edward Shupp and Student Senate President Kerry Mallett.
The announcement is the latest of several public safety initiatives that the city and Lehigh have announced in recent weeks. Bethlehem reintroduced the beat cop to the business districts, providing a visible police presence near Lehigh.
Lehigh and city police also perform joint patrols through 4 a.m. on the weekends.
Last week Lehigh unveiled EmergenSee, a mobile app that acts as a personal security system. The app, for iPhones and Android phones, can record video and audio, linking a student directly to Lehigh's police department and dispatchers in an emergency. Nine hundred people have signed up for it so far.
Lehigh already uses the LU-Alert system, which sends mass texts and emails when something occurs on campus, a move many colleges made after a student shot and killed 32 people on campus at Virginia Tech in 2007.
"Any effort to improve safety on campus, whether it be a smartphone app, increased lighting or a promise of law enforcement to work with other local agencies, is good news for students and good news for south Bethlehem," said Mallett, a senior.