Harrisburg business owner shares creative solution for crime problems

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Harrisburg business owner says he has an idea to cut back on crime, and he’s hoping city council will listen.

John Traynor has 48 cameras in and around Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, with several signs saying “Smile! You’re on Camera.”

Traynor says this one, simple move has virtually eliminated crime concerns at his establishment, thanks to “camera-shy” criminals.

“That’s the perception you want to get out to criminals,” Traynor said. “You don’t want to be coming here, you don’t want to be behaving in that manor.”

“A lot of people talk about cameras and think, ‘Oh, it’s big brother and they don’t want that kind of surveillance,'” Traynor added. “However, I think it goes to public safety. And you have to do something to battle crime.”

Traynor says he can’t do it alone, so he’s asking the city to make surveillance a requirement. He suggests mandating at least one interior and one exterior camera for each business and landlord obtaining or renewing a mercantile license.

“You would have, over a period of time, hundreds of cameras,” Traynor said. “So effectively, you wouldn’t be able to walk from one corner to the other without being on camera or being seen.”

Traynor’s proposal comes at a time when technology is cheaper than ever, with basic cameras costing around $100.

“It’s an investment,” he said. “Not only in your own business, it’s also an investment in the community and the safety of the community.”

It’s not just about business. The idea is designed to give the economy a boost, too.

“It will change the perception of the people that live outside the city and want to come in for cultural events and the restaurants and all the wonderful things happening here,” Traynor said. “So it will change that East Shore/West Shore perception of ‘Oh, Harrisburg is a dangerous place.'”

ABC 27 called the mayor’s office to find out what he thinks of the idea. No one immediately responded. Any new business requirements would require a city council vote.

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