Cameras in Parks

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Security cameras are installed in most businesses and even on stop lights. But what purpose could they serve in city parks?

The town of Stockton, Missouri actually just installed some in their park and it’s been great for them. So if that small town could afford it, why hasn’t the biggest town in the Four State area done it? I sat down with city leaders to find out.

“We had problems with the parks for years,” says Mary Norell.

The city of Stockton, Missouri had issues with vandals.

“So we purchased two camera that rotate 360 degrees and we installed it ourselves,” says Norell.

So far it’s proven to be a pretty smart purchase for the city. They recently caught some kids red handed.

“They said ‘oh no they didn’t do it’ and john comes out and goes and says ‘see this,’ so they tore it down and he said ‘I’m just giving you a warning this time, so clean it up and get out of here,’” says Norell.

And they managed to buy the cameras with a pretty small budget.

“Our budget is very small around $2 thousand dollars and well it came in at $1,997 dollars or something like that,” says Norell.

I asked Norell if she would recommend that any city get this.

“I don’t know why any city wouldn’t get this,” says Norell.

I asked Joplin’s mayor if they’d considered putting cameras in a few of the city’s parks.

“The answer is yes, we don’t have a great deal of vandalism in our parks,” says Gary Shaw.

While Joplin may not have a lot vandalism, it does have crime. In the last four years alone there have been almost 70 incidents that might have been prevented with cameras present.

“If we got to the point where there was a lot of problems it’s certainly something we would consider especially for the safety of the people that got involved,” says Gary Shaw.

The incidents in the parks involved guns, knives, and violence. 17 of them at Parr Hill Park alone, which is why the city of Joplin is working on getting cameras installed.
“They have given some thought to that and actually looking for funds that they actually may be able to do that, just to put on the buildings themselves,” says Gary Shaw.

But mayor Shaw has one concern with that.

“However you get that fine line are you infringing on people’s privacy,” says Shaw.

“I don’t think it’s creepy, you’re in a public place people are watching you anyway and if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t be worried,” says Shaniah Bishop.

“I don’t see an issue with it, I think it’s a great idea,” says David Durrall, “with the park being so big, there’s times we hear things on the other side but it being so dark we can’t see it.”

But having cameras, it could be as simple as calling the police and having them check that instant, keeping everyone safe.

“Especially if people know that there are cameras placed, I think that will prohibit a lot of activities that go on, and I’m not saying they do go on but I do think it would prevent a lot,” says Durrall, “it’s a good thing, I mean why not, we have kids here so why not.”

Shaw says they are having conversations about installing cameras however there are no official planes as of yet. He says other key budget issues are topping their agenda for now.

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