Police announced a NIS 1 billion restructuring initiative to heighten security in the capital’s largely volatile eastern Arab sector, featuring five new stations in flashpoint neighborhoods, 1,200 additional officers and nearly 200 extra CCTV cameras.
Citing the relative lawlessness of the east compared to the west, Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy said the move, made Tuesday night, is intended to “strengthen and deepen the rule of law throughout Jerusalem, and in the villages of east Jerusalem.”
The new stations will be built in Jebl Mukaber, Isawiya, Beit Safafa, A-Tur, Shuafat, and Sur Bahir. They are intended to monitor terrorist activity in the neighborhoods, as well as crime, Halevy said.
Noting the perceived threat many Palestinians feel by law enforcement, Halevy said he will appoint municipal officials to work at each station to spearhead community outreach in an effort to lower tensions.
Additionally, remarking on the success of Mabat 2000, the state-of-the-art police headquarters in the Old City using hundreds of CCTV cameras to monitor nearly every square meter of public space there, Halevy said 193 cameras will be added throughout east Jerusalem.
“The plan is intended to make changes to adapt to the security situation, while meeting the daily needs of local residents and helping to improve the quality of life in the public spaces with enforcement and deterrence against drug offenders, weapons offenders, property crime and violence,” he said.
There are presently 3,500 officers from a breadth of units stationed in Jerusalem.
The new initiative will increase that number to an unprecedented 4,700.
While Jerusalem officers are offered special incentives and benefits to work in the capital, a new national recruitment campaign has so far only recruited 200 of the 1,200 troops needed due to the intensive and unpredictable nature of the work.
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the strategic measure – being carried out in coordination with the Public Security Ministry, police and Jerusalem Municipality – is a critical part of a long-term plan to improve security across the capital, in both Jewish and Israeli-Arab neighborhoods.
“Part of that plan is to open further police stations and police points within a wide range of neighborhoods, and have police officers that can support the community in a more in-depth manner,” said Rosenfeld.
“For example, if someone needs to file a complaint, they will have a local police station within the neighborhood that they can go to, rather than having to go to one of the larger police stations. So, they will have much more access.”
Moreover, Rosenfeld said the heightened police presence will provide invaluable support within the neighborhoods in real time, while also improving living conditions.
“The idea is not just to go in there and patrol, we’re talking about easier access to the communities and the people living inside the communities by making them safer,” he said.