A couple of incidents in city parks have officials looking into purchasing better security cameras.
Bob Tabeling, director of the Seymour Park and Recreation Department, recently reported two incidents, one involving a car that was broken into leading to the theft of a woman’s purse at Freeman Field Park and the second where a woman assaulted another woman by slapping her in the face at Gaiser Park.
Although there are security cameras in place at all of the city’s parks, Tabeling said they are not high enough quality to show a clear image of either incident.
“We do have cameras, and I do think they’ve made a difference. They just don’t have the megapixels we need,” he said. “When you go to zoom in, the picture starts to blur and fall apart. We’re obviously running into issues where we see things, but we can’t clearly see things.”
Tabeling said the incidents are serious because the parks are used by a lot of kids and families and are meant to be safe.
He requested information from ADT Security on other camera options and brought those recommendations to the parks board at its Oct. 15 meeting.
“We asked them to come in and show us cameras that would help us with this,” Tabeling said.
ADT reviewed all of the city’s parks to determine where more cameras are needed and how much it would cost.
The recommendation was to replace the 39 existing cameras with models with higher megapixels to allow for zooming and a clearer picture and add nine cameras for a total of 48 for improved security. The total cost would be $44,974 with an additional $215 per month maintenance fee.
Tabeling said he doesn’t think the department needs to spend that much money at this time.
He is most concerned with Shields, Freeman Field and Gaiser parks because they are the biggest and most used parks facilities, he said.
Those parks also tend to have the most reported incidents, he said.
Through ADT, it will cost $17,730 to replace the 15 cameras at those three parks and add four more for a total of 19 new cameras. The monthly maintenance charge will be $85.
The cameras would be hardwired, which Tabeling said is better than the wireless system because of the problems they are running into with loss of signal.
Another benefit of upgrading the cameras is they can be hooked up to a system that gives the police department or authorized parks department employees or board members access to the camera footage in real time.
“You can log in, you can pull it up, you can look at what’s happening at the skate park at 9 o’clock at night or what’s happening at Freeman Field at 6 o’clock in the morning,” he said.
If the parks board agrees to focus on just the three parks, Tabeling said the cameras that currently are in those parks could be utilized in the other parks.
Tabeling said the cameras would be paid for through the department’s 502 non-reverting fund.
Parks board member Kathy Hohenstreiter asked if more quotes from different security companies could be gathered to make sure the city is getting the best price for the cameras and service.