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Crafton considers surveillance cameras to deter park vandals

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Monday, May 7, 2012, 2:10 p.m.

Crafton officials are thinking about video cameras at Crafton Park as a way to deter vandalism.

Manager Robert Callen said cameras currently placed around the park are not operational.

"We've had a number of reports of vandalism, picnic tables, pavilions, ripped off shingles, and broken lights, that have become a continuous maintenance problem for our crew."

Among the incidents reported by Crafton police are a table and light covers that were found broken on March 16.

Callen said funds to pay for new cameras are not included in the borough's budget this year but the cost could be "relatively inexpensive."

He told council members of an initiative in Munhall to outfit the entire length of Main Street with eight video cameras.

Munhall council awarded the closed circuit surveillance system project to 911 Security Cameras Inc. last month at a cost of $58,000.

"It was pretty pricy, but they did the whole downtown, which is wireless."

Callen said other systems should be more affordable.

"Perhaps we could look at some type of video system that could be tapped into immediately on the laptops of police vehicles, who could monitor from the car on the part of the borough.

"That's what I envision. It costs a few bucks."

Officials said cameras at the park, which are placed at the pool and near shelters, are obsolete.

After working for a few years, problems developed with connection hardware.

"The newer ones on the market today, you won't even know they're there," Callen said.

Councilman Douglas Johnston said Crafton Park should be examined for a needs assessment so cost estimates can be developed before any final decisions are made.

"I do think they are needed down there. There's a lot of blind spots," President April Weitzel said.

Council person Susan O'Connell said among issues at the park is damaged fencing that is curling after being cut through. It will be replaced with a heavier grade of fencing.

Environmental Planning & Design, which is advising the borough on creating a comprehensive recreation plan, also is recommending a borough employee be trained as a park safety inspector.

O'Connell said playgrounds could be inspected each day to maintain safety standards.

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