May 23, 2008

Security cameras aim to curb park vandalism

By mid-summer, the first park cameras should be snapping pictures at downtown’s Brackett Park.
Its aim is to deter vandals from damaging city property or at least catch them in the act so that police officers have a better shot at tracking down the culprits.
The $26,000 security cameras, which are slated for installation at other city parks later, are one way that officials are trying to stem a growing wave of vandalism that is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars annually.
In recent days alone, vandals have painted on the pump house and broken lights at Rockwell Park and kicked out spokes on the footbridge on Memorial Boulevard, officials said.
“We’re trying to keep up with all that,” said Park Director Ed Swicklas. “It’s an endless battle.”
The cameras are a new high-tech way to boost the odds for officials trying to win the fight.
Swicklas said they’ll be mounted on a tall pole with a direct line of sight back to City Hall so that a web-based system can capture the images regularly.
“This is, I guess, one of the state-of-the-art ones,” Swicklas said.
Officials are planning more cameras to combat vandalism at Rockwell Park and on the boulevard, with other parks likely to follow in years to come if the method proves helpful.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski said that vandalism is “a growing problem” across town and that steps have to be taken.
He said that he would like to explore ways to make it possible to pay out rewards for tipsters who turn in vandals without exposing the snitches to exposure through Freedom of Information requests.
Rimcoski said that when the new $500,000 skatepark opens this fall, the city might want to consider closing it for “a week or 10 days” every time someone vandalizes it.
That would give the skateboarders a strong incentive to protect the city’s investment, the councilor said.
Swicklas has said he believes that skateboarders will do a good job keeping an eye on the course because they already have more to lose than anyone if something is damaged there.


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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are the cameras a carryover from the last administration?

Good idea to close the facility: might lead to self policing.

Anonymous said...

Its only taken one year for the park to get the cameras installed. I wonder if the Park bd. has been watching?

Anonymous said...

All I know is that I met Officer Perry today and she's smokin' hot!

...and nice as heck too!

Anonymous said...

At approximately midnight some night this summer, I plan on doing an exotic dance routine for these cameras.

Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Why did it take so long?

The money had to be approved a year ago.

Anonymous said...

We (the taxpayers) renovated this park for the west end slum dwellers and now we have to buy cameras to police it?

Hogwash!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
We (the taxpayers) renovated this park for the west end slum dwellers and now we have to buy cameras to police it?
``````````````````

It's nice to see racism is alive and thriving in Bristol .

chris said...

"We (the taxpayers) renovated this park for the west end slum dwellers and now we have to buy cameras to police it?"

I don't generally argue with other people's comments, but I can't pass this one up. I'm male (white), 28, college degree, engaged, have a full-time job making 40K+ a year (fiance works full-time too), and...I live in the West End of Bristol! You (person since you don't even have the spine to post a first name) are arogant/pig headed/ and sadly racist and it is horrible people like you that cause friction and cause more arguments than productive action. As for the cameras they are a great idea. And if they are already hooked to the Internet should be made available for any/everyone to view, not just the police. The more people keeping an eye on things the better.