New Orleans foundation gets $10,000 donation for crime cameras from Latter & Blum who lobbies for 'cameras all over this city' _lowres

Advocate staff photo by A.J. SISCO -- Interim NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison addresses the crowd during the District D community meeting at the Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans Wednesday, August 27, 2014. The community meetings afford citizens the opportunity to talk with various city department heads about their specific complaints and concerns.

A real estate firm announced a $10,000 donation to the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation for anti-crime surveillance cameras Wednesday.

The donation from Latter & Blum comes as a Police Department-partnered program that launched in August already has led to the installation of about 70 cameras. Now, the real estate firm hopes to pepper the city with more cameras through a fundraising drive.

Robert Merrick, the chairman and CEO of Latter & Blum, said he hopes more firms will follow suit with donations. “Let’s put cameras all over this city,” he said.

Speaking to an audience of real estate professionals as the donation was announced Wednesday night, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison welcomed the support from the city’s business community.

Harrison noted that the NOPD recorded a 6 percent drop in major crimes in 2015 compared with the year before, and he said he hopes to build on that progress with crime cameras.

“We need more, so I’m asking you to get involved,” Harrison said. He said the cameras help officers “make great cases that people can’t wiggle their way out of.”

In August, the NOPD said it was partnering with the Police and Justice Foundation to start Adopt-A-Block, a program meant to provide residents with crime cameras at little or no cost.

The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors announced a $15,000 award for the program in January meant to pay for the installation of 34 cameras.

Nathaniel Weaver, a senior program manager for the Police and Justice Foundation, said the donation announced Wednesday could allow the program to add dozens more cameras.

Real estate agents with Latter & Blum also said they will match future donations to the Police and Justice Foundation from NOMAR for crime cameras with donations to the United Way, on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Latter & Blum President Rick Haase, who sits on the boards of both the Police and Justice Foundation and the United Way, said he hopes the matching program will be able to address both the day-to-day need to fight crime and its root causes.