Money well spent on CCTV cameras in Kearny, indeed

The other day, when Deputy Police Chief Scott Macfie was giving me the details on the arrest of the subject of the April 12 robbery at Schuyler Savings Bank, he went out of his way to note Kearny has likely spent $1 million on closed-circuit television security cameras that have been placed, strategically, around town.

One of those cameras was located on Davis Avenue near the scene of the robbery and it caught a crystal-clear look at the suspect, Harun Arslan, after he took off the mask he wore to conceal his face inside the bank when he got outside with more than $4,000 in cash proceeds.

“It’s money well spent,” Macfie said of the cameras.

And he’s absolutely right.

Within just two days, because of the footage from the cameras, detectives were able to trace the suspect’s steps from the bank, to Dukes Street and ultimately, to West Hudson Park. 

Inside the park, albeit county owned and operated, another camera captured footage of him getting into a car, license-plate readers tracked down the address of the car’s registered owner — and that person lived in the same home as Arslan.

Inside the bank, since the coward covered his face with a mask, CCTV cameras there were unable to properly capture his likeness, so chances are if the cameras weren’t in place on the outside, police would have had a much more difficult time determining the suspect.

But the cameras were there. And while some see them as “Big Brother” watching — they’re really not — they led to the swift arrest of a suspect who turned out to have a serious criminal record, including involvement in a 2016 bank robbery in Garfield.

Yes, $1 million is a lot of cash, but as Macfie said, it is money well spent in this case alone. And we can only help the cameras serve as deterrents to anyone considering committing any crime down the line. — CANESSA

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.