MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – In an effort to curtail vandalism and improve the quality of life for all residents, Mount Vernon officials will install surveillance cameras in 12 city playgrounds.
The cameras were purchased with bond money earmarked for playground renovations. They will be activated by motion, and the surveillance system will warn trespassers that the playground is closed if they try to get in after hours.
“We’re putting in video surveillance cameras that will help us monitor activities in our playgrounds, especially after hours,” Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis said.
Darren Morton, the Commissioner of the Mount Vernon Recreation Department, said that the cameras should help cut down on petty crimes that make the playgrounds less desirable for families.
“Cameras will certainly help us reduce incidences of vandalism and rowdiness in the playgrounds,” he said. “Every year we have to disband groups that oftentimes damage equipment and damage or destroy equipment when playgrounds are entered after hours.”
The purchase of the portable, solar-powered motion activated security cameras was approved last October by the City Council. They are equipped with monitoring devices and will provide high resolution images.
Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Burke added that it will help reduce crime in Mount Vernon.
“This will be a useful crime fighting tool,” he said. “We want everyone to know that our playgrounds have surveillance and it’s better to stay out of them after hours than risk getting charged for trespassing or some other crime.”
The Department of Public Works has been tasked with installing the cameras. City officials will demonstrate how the cameras will work at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Ben Gordon New Life Playground on South 8th Avenue and Sandford Boulevard.
“Complaints from residents and police response to people hanging out in the playgrounds even after they were locked help us make this decision,” Davis said. “This will improve the quality of life for people living near neighborhood playgrounds.”
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