Denver is Going Digital: Remote Surveillance Being Used to Keep City Parks Safer

Security camerasThe Denver Parks and Recreation department is now installing surveillance cameras in city parks to help keep citizens and parks safer. Common’s Park, City Park, and Parkfield are the first three of the city’s parks to receive this technology, and more locations will soon be added to the list.

Denver Park Ranger Bob Toll said the ultimate goal of the cameras is to keep people safe. He also said that the first three locations were carefully selected for this security update.

“[The cameras were installed] Where we’re having the most problems throughout the city,” he said to 7NEWS.

Common’s Park is now home to 10 surveillance cameras, which are kept on and recording 24/7. If a crime is captured on video, Denver Police or Park Rangers are called immediately. Police respond to 38 million alarm activation calls annually, and now city parks have live feeds to alert police to crimes or other potentially unsafe situations.

“We can’t be everywhere,” Scott Gilmore with Denver Parks and Rec said.

The park live feeds are monitored by Park Rangers inside the Webb Building and the footage is stored for one month. This allows Rangers to play back any footage and potentially identify suspicious activity up to a month after it has been taken.

But crime isn’t the only thing they’re looking for.

“One of the top complaints we get day in and day out is dogs off leash,” Toll said.

Misdemeanors like dogs off-leash may not be as serious as major crimes, but they can still pose safety hazards to citizens at any of the parks. With access to live feeds from park surveillance systems, Rangers can be directed more specifically to those areas and intervene.

Toll believes this is a more effective use of his time and of the other Rangers’ time. The cameras may not be cheap, but neither is a Ranger’s time.

“I may not need four or five rangers to patrol an area, I may get by with less because I can direct them,” he said.

La Alma Park and St. Charles Park are still awaiting camera installation, but the city plans on spending around $104,000 on camera installations for the remainder of 2017.

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