Cameras will monitor city parks

SANDUSKY Criminals beware -- the city is watching. This week, the city will begin rot
May 24, 2010



Criminals beware -- the city is watching.

This week, the city will begin rotating two high-tech, mobile cameras throughout its parks to catch vandals and criminal activity.

The Wightman-Wieber Foundation donated the cameras last year at a cost of $3800 each after vandals set fire to some of the playground equipment at Wightman-Wieber Park.

Tom Whitted, the city's communications manager, said the cameras -- the size of small flashlights -- are state-of-the-art.

"It's a super low-light camera," Whitted said Friday. "It's not infrared, but it's as close as it gets, so it'll work even at night."

The cameras are encased in custom-designed, "indestructible" fiberglass-and-metal boxes about the size of shoeboxes.

Whitted said the boxes are bulletproof and weigh about 70 pounds with the camera, batteries and digital video recorders inside.

Although the city received the donation last year, officials waited until spring, when the trees had leaves, to find hiding spots in the parks for the cameras.

Whitted said they found good perches in every park to place the cameras.

"They can see everything," Whitted said. "They have full field of view."

Gene Kidwell of the Wightman-Wieber Foundation didn't immediately return phone calls Friday.

Other city parks have had issues with vandalism, specifically with graffiti and property damage.

City manager Matt Kline addressed the issue Monday at the city commission meeting when he discussed possibly opening up the former Surf's Up property.

"There's no doubt (we've had problems)," he said. "That's a concern for every one of our parks. We're trying to secure them as best (as we can). It's been our policy when we have graffiti (that) we can buy more paint than a kid can. So, we'll cover up the graffiti. ... These things happen. We're aware of that."