Danville Express

Newsfront - November 9, 2007

Cameras installed to prevent vandalism at community center

Danville police will monitor activities from their office

by Jordan M. Doronila

The Town of Danville has installed surveillance cameras around its new $6 million Oak Hill Park Community Center to protect it from miscreants.

Police will be monitoring the park, said Jed Johnson, town maintenance services manager. "The idea is to protect our investments."

Town officials decided to install the cameras to keep an eye out for vandals, he said. The four cameras are hanging around the center's perimeter and are hooked up to the Danville Police Department. The police can monitor the center from their office.

"It's an expensive enough building that we want to protect it from vandalism," said Town Councilwoman Candace Andersen. "We want to make sure nothing happens to it."

The Oak Hill Park Community Center is on Stone Valley Road, adjacent to Monte Vista High School. Town officials opened its doors to the public last month and placed the cameras to protect the building from being damaged. Andersen noted that a smaller building that used to be there was vandalized.

Currently, surveillance cameras, worth $6,000 each, are confined to the center and are not placed in any other town facility. Police said they are meant to stop people from damaging property - not to intrude in on residents' lives.

"The last thing we would do is to have cameras all over the town where everyone feels watched," said Police Chief Chris Wenzel. "This is by no means a 'big brother' act."

"The ultimate goal is to put a system in place in certain areas or parks for cameras and capture certain criminal activity," said Wenzel. "Law enforcement can't be everywhere. The cost of a camera is a lot less."

The cameras will focus on the building, especially after working hours, and be able to identify delinquents.

"I'm pretty confident it's going to be a deterrent to vandalism," Wenzel said. "At this time, we are working to put cameras in certain areas that are concerns."

"The whole purpose is the protection of property and to make people safe," he added.

Johnson spearheaded installing the cameras. He said he spoke six to nine months ago with administrators in neighboring cities, such as Pittsburg, who were using them. He brought the idea back to Danville and discussed it with the town manager and Town Council.

The town approved the cameras and recently installed them.

"This is to help augment our job," Wenzel said. "We have seen in the past certain vandalisms that occurred. This happened at the All Wars Memorial two years ago."

"The cameras will protect the work and moneys that the town spends," he added. "The entire building and surrounding area can be monitored. We'll be making adjustments to make it all work."


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