NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of New Haven plans on installing 500 cameras over the next few years to help police solve crime and identify suspects.

With the recent increase in crime, city officials said cameras will be a key tool in making arrests.

“If you see the trend, the reason why we’re solving things now is camera footage and help from the community,” said Karl Jacobson, New Haven assistant police chief.

The Board of Alders approved about $4 million of federal pandemic relief funds to pay for more cameras for the police department. The city hired a contractor to install the first batch of cameras in areas where there is a high of volume of crime and where the infrastructure already exists.

“If something happens, we immediately go and see if people have Ring cameras, immediately go and canvas the area to see if there is a store that has a camera or if there is a municipal camera nearby. Having more [cameras] on site will help us put the pieces together, identify a perpetrator,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

Elicker said bigger cities like Hartford and Bridgeport already have an expansive camera system. Those police departments have solved more homicides with the use of camera footage.

Cameras are just one tool the city is using to solve crime. The New Haven Police Department swore in a class of new detectives last month.

With more staff and access to camera footage of crime, officials hope New Haven will be a safer place to live.

“This investment will last for many years to come and will help us keep residents safe,” Elicker said.