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Proposed Kamille 'Cupcake' McKinney Bill calls for surveillance cameras in public housing

The Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney Bill would require all public housing developments to have 24/7 surveillance cameras.

Posted: Oct 31, 2019 7:02 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 7:17 PM

The murder of a little girl in Birmingham is prompting change at the federal level. The Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney Bill would require all public housing developments to have 24/7 surveillance cameras.

The Huntsville Housing Authority recently added tall bright lights in the Northwoods Apartments so people can see at night, but some residents say cameras would make them feel even safer.

Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney

"If there was more security cameras out here, then it would make me feel a lot safer," said Jennifer Alejandro, who has family in Northwoods.

Alejandro says families have to keep a close eye on their children when they play outside at Northwoods. She says ever since hearing about a little girl named "Cupcake" being kidnapped from public housing in Birmingham, and later being found in a landfill, it's made her worried for her child's safety.

"My heart was broken, because I have a four-year-old, so I would hate for that to happen to her," said Alejandro.

A petition online asks for a federal law, requiring all multi-residential complexes have 24-hour surveillance cameras, regardless of size or economic demographic.

Administrators for the Huntsville Housing Authority say security cameras may not be the answer.

"Cameras help, but, you know, we have to be careful when it comes to privacy as well," said the deputy executive director for the Huntsville Housing Authority, Antonio McGinnis.

McGinnis says he grew up in public housing and the best safety surveillance is from neighbors.

"I grew up actually at Sparkman Homes, and once again, that's why I'm so passionate about families and creating that village, because I knew for me, that's what made a difference...Families looking out for each other," said McGinnis.

Right now, the authority has a contract with Huntsville police that provides additional patrols at all their housing sights. Neighbors we spoke with say it's nice seeing police around the area.

"We just encourage our residents to kind of pay attention to what's going on and let us know what we can do, and we continue to evaluate any other mechanisms to increase their levels of safety," said Quisha Riche, the director of real estate and development for the Huntsville Housing Authority.

"Everybody just needs to stick together. Be careful. Hold your kids tight, because they can be snatched away so fast," said Alejandro.

Even though the housing authority says it has to be careful with privacy issues, it does agree cameras can add a layer of security. Right now, they're trying to find money to add more cameras to this area of Northwoods so neighbors feel safer.

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