St. Albans counting on cameras to cut crime - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

St. Albans counting on cameras to cut crime

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Taylor Park in St. Albans City is a public place where folks like to relax and spend some quiet time. But over the past few years, there's been crime here.

"I was contacted by the park commissioner, who pointed out to me that there had been a substantial amount of vandalism, malicious crime in the park," St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor said.

And also people dealing drugs.

So to help deter crime, the city has agreed to spend $5,600 on surveillance cameras aimed at cutting down on crime.

"People will be discouraged from engaging in that type of behavior or activity when they know that they're being monitored," Taylor said.

"Would you rather have a camera in a public space or would you rather have the public space constantly monitored by police officers? I think most people would choose the former," St. Albans City Manager Dominic Cloud said.

But not everyone who uses the park is a fan of this new approach.

"Kids play here and stuff. It's just a place to have fun; it's not downtown New York where things are happening that should be videotaped or recorded," said Brody Pigeon of St. Albans.

Those who are concerned about privacy rights also have issues about using surveillance cameras.

"Do we really want to live in a world where any time we go anywhere outside of our homes, there's a video trail being made of where we're going, and that's a little bit creepy," said Allen Gilbert of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont.

The cameras will be installed much like the ones in the city's Houghton Park. City officials say that approach worked and some members of the public agree the cameras in Taylor Park are just fine.

"I just think it's a great thing. It's going to protect everyone here wandering around the park," said Jeff Eaton of St. Albans.

A high-tech tool aimed at keeping crime out of the city's parks.

There will be three video cameras in Taylor Park. There are already cameras at the pool, the courthouse parking lot and Houghton Park.

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