Bountiful wants to curb vandalism by using surveillance at facilities

Oct 2 2012 - 10:05pm

BOUNTIFUL -- Tired of an ongoing vandalism problem, city leaders will put people using some of the city parks and facilities under surveillance.

City leaders recently voted 5-0 to buy and install a new security camera and wireless network, which will be installed at 4th North Park, North Canyon Park, on the city's golf course, at the Hidden Lake Trailhead, the cemetery and the landfill.

The system will cost $35,181 and is being funded through three different city departments, plus $3,000 in private donations from residents who live near the Hidden Lakes Trailhead.

The project was initiated at the behest of Jerry Wilson, director of the parks department, because of an ongoing problem with damage and vandalism in city parks.

He noted that rails used for skateboarding have become an especially hard item to keep in parks and said the city has paid between $5,000 and $7,000 replacing items in city facilities.

The security system is expected to help city officials monitor and stop drug activity near the trailhead, among other uses. Wilson said cameras will be installed in unlikely and hard-to-reach places as part of the new security setup.

Not everyone was thrilled with the idea of people being under surveillance when using city facilities.

"Is there any hesitancy on the council's part on putting the city under surveillance? I don't like the idea that wherever we are, we're on camera somewhere," Councilman Richard Higginson said.

Councilman Tom Tolman said the idea of Big Brother watching people's activity in city parks and recreational areas is a good thing.

Councilman Fred Moss defended the move because it is protecting city property.

Police Chief Tom Ross said it's important to remember residents are helping to fund the new system.

"It's probably worth noting residents are helping to pay for this. They feel it brings a level of security to an area that had some vandalism, including some drug activity," Ross said. "I understand the 'Big Brother watching us' concept and we want to avoid that wherever we can, but there are some areas that can benefit from it."

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