NEW ORLEANS -- Police commanders admit one of the first things detectives do on a crime scene is look for security cameras. They have been encouraging business owners across New Orleans to install them.
Barbara Bear installed cameras at her Gold Mine Saloon at Dauphine and St. Peter streets, several years ago. She recently received a notice from the Vieux Carre' Commission stating that her globe style cameras may not conform with what's allowed in the French Quarter.
"I find it hard to understand why they would want us to remove them when the police are using them," Bear said.
The bar owner says her security cameras are a lot more effective than smaller ones now on the market. She also says they've already been used to solve several French Quarter crimes.
"The cameras, they've been used before for seeing people mugged on the street," said Bear. "I would prefer to keep them, but I don't know what they'll allow me to do."
VCC Director Lary Hesdorffer said Bear did not get permission before installing the cameras.
"When those cameras have been installed properly, obviously with a permit, there's no question," said Hesdorffer. "These were done without an application, without a permit and without any review beforehand."
The commission also cited the owner for having unshielded flood lights under her balcony.
"The lights in my opinion deter a little bit of the crime because they light up the area," Bear said.
The VCC recently hired an inspector for the first time in three years
"Looking at lots of properties that had just not on a regular basis been inspected," said Hesdorffer. "What he has found and we've done is follow up with notifications for scores upon scores of property owners of all types of infractions on properties."
Hesdorffer says the commission would now like to work with the Gold Mine to correct the violations. Bear would like to find a way to keep her lights and security cameras. The Vieux Carre' Commission also cited the Gold Mine for having improper signs and a broken window.
The owner said she is in the process of removing the signs in question and fixing the window.