Redmond council OKs public security cameras

Police chief sees benefits of public-space surveillance

Redmond public reacts to new security cameras in city

REDMOND, Ore. - The Redmond City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to spend up to $120,000 to install police security cameras at city parks and other facilities to deter crime and vandalism.

Plans call for installing 14 cameras under a contract with Reece Security Solutions, and 19 more could be added in the coming years, as funding allows.

Although talk on the street and a KTVZ.COM Poll find most support the idea of such cameras, one man told the council he thought it would boost crime, not deter it: "It becomes a great irritant to everybody, and irritants start causing more crime."

And he's not alone.

"I'm a person that really likes my privacy, and so I would be a little skeptical about being under surveillance, even though I don't have anything to hide," bank manager Barry Jordan said Tuesday.

Another man said he thinks the costs for cameras are too high and the payback will be too low, in terms of damage prevented or criminals caught.

But city officials said they have to do something to stop crime.

"On a frequent basis, we have problems in American Legion Park with some youth hanging around causing problems for passers-by, as well as committing vandalism against the properties," said Police Chief Dave Tarbet.

Tarbet said the city approached him last year to come up with a plan to target crime around city property.

Vandalism and theft have cost the city more than $92,000 over the last nine years, not counting impacts on programs and property taken care of by volunteers.

And police said when they can't hire more patrol officers, cameras are often the next best thing.

"An officer's approximately pushing $100,000, (to be) putting an officer on the street," Tarbet said.  "Well, this camera system is a one-time $120,000 roughly, and it will last more than just one year, and it's basically one and a half officers."

And although cameras can be a point of controversy, Tarbet said the police aren't trying to spy on people's daily activities, but instead want to protect public property.

Tarbet said there are already a few cameras up in Redmond, some at Centennial Park and one at American Legion Park.

While Tarbet said the cameras at Centennial Park have been successful at deterring crime, American Legion is often hit hard with tagging and other vandalism.

NewsChannel 21 hit the streets and parks of Redmond to find out how people feel about the possibility of more surveillance.

Most said they were happy to hear it, as they wanted more beautiful parks and to feel safer.

"If it's going to deter people from being able to do bad things and get away with it, that'd be great," said Redmond business owner Joshua Legters. "It keeps the honest people honest, and it keeps the bad people where they need to be, away from the honest people."

A few students were hanging out at Centennial Park on their lunch break Tuesday. And they agreed that more cameras is good for Redmond.

"I wouldn't be like weirded out about it, because it's just something that has to happen around here," said Redmond High senior Yuliya Reshetova.  "I'll still go about my day and come here to hang out with friends."

Tarbet said the first new cameras could be installed before March.

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