After parks in New Whiteland were vandalized multiple times this summer, the town is looking into setting up a new security camera system to catch or deter vandals.
Vandals have damaged picnic tables, broken lights and spray-painted monuments. The cost of fixing the damage quickly adds up, with the town spending about $8,000 to replace picnic tables at Country Gate Park and to replace lights at Proctor Park this year, New Whiteland Town Council President John Perrin said.
Police officers began making random checks at the parks throughout the day since June, but now the council is looking at getting additional, higher quality security cameras which will allow officers to remotely monitor activity in the town’s five parks, he said.
Officers would be able to view live video from the security cameras on the laptops they have with them in their squad cars, allowing them to quickly get to a park should anyone be caught on tape vandalizing park equipment or doing anything else they shouldn’t.
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While the town has about 10 cameras already up at the parks, the current cameras are older, with much lower quality video, can only be watched at the police station and don’t provide complete views of the parks, Perrin said.
The council is considering spending $72,000 to lease 27 security cameras for five years. While purchasing the camera’s outright would cost about $10,000 less, the lease agreement covers installation, maintenance and replacement of the cameras if they to break, Perrin said. The council set aside money in its 2018 budget to cover the cost of getting the cameras, he said.
The town is looking into a five-year improvement plan for the parks, including adding new park land, and cameras could also be used to protect any new park property that could be added, Perrin said. If the town makes a sizeable financial investment in its parks, a system is needed to make sure the upgraded parks are protected, he said.
“We don’t mind doing that and making sure we do nicer things for people, but we want it taken care of,” Perrin said.
Besides placing cameras in the the parks, the town also is looking at possibly placing cameras near the wastewater treatment plant and near the town hall, Perrin said.