Catching vandals a costly business

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2013

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Costs and the practicality of trying to monitor every entrance to New Plymouth's Pukekura Park is prohibiting the installation of more security cameras, Mark Bruhn says.

A spate of vandalism at the park and sites around the district has the council scrambling to find a solution to stop further destruction.

At the end of October an arsonist caused $55,000 in damage to the children's playground after a $560,000 makeover, the park's band rotunda has been attacked twice and displays being set up for the Festival of Lights have also been damaged.

It's not just Pukekura Park being affected, hooligans had caused chaos at other reserves and cemeteries around the district.

Two new cameras were installed at the park this week and would be there permanently, Mr Bruhn, the New Plymouth District Council's parks manager, said.

The council would be continuing to assess its options to reduce the vandalism and was using cameras at other trouble hot spots.

"We manage 1400 hectares of public park land in the district and covering and monitoring that area 24 hours a day would be more expensive than it currently is," Mr Bruhn said.

The four cameras used in the park were a mix of technology including CCTV which could be monitored like the CBD cameras, and a web-based solar-powered camera, which cost $9000, watching the playground.

While it would be technically possible to have cameras covering every entrance it would be time-consuming and costly, he said.

"The park is not fenced in, and while there are plenty of official entry points, 23 in fact, there are a number of other ways of entering the park."

The council had looked at the cost of other types of portable cameras which were battery-run and self-recording but they cost about $1200 each.

"As you can imagine, not only would we have the capital cost, we would have the monitoring costs as well."

Mr Bruhn said the council would continue to investigate how advances in technology could help beef up security.

"We are constantly keeping an eye on those options."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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