DENVER - The city of Denver is in the process of rolling out an advanced surveillance system to keep a closer eye on criminal activity at some of the most popular parks in the city.
Criminal activity, ranging from drug use to dogs off leashes, has increased over the past several years, according to Denver Parks and Recreation.
The department began installing cameras at some parks a couple of years ago. In the past couple of weeks, officials finally launched a monitoring area where rangers can sit in a room and look for concerning activity without setting foot at a park.
The department says the new system will save time and resources. Park officials also say if any crimes occur at the parks, they'll be able to provide detailed video to police.
"We have 250 parks and 6,000 acres of park. We can't be everywhere," Scott Gilmore with Denver Parks and Rec says. "What this is doing is just letting us address those issues when we see it."
The cameras have been installed at Parkfield Park, Commons Park and St. Charles Park so far. City officials plan to install cameras at Lincoln Park and La Alma Park by the end of the year, officials said. In addition to the parks, cameras were also installed at 17 recreation centers where theft has been a common issue, Gilmore said.
Since the cameras have the ability to capture nearly everyone and everything, officials say people who use the park should remember it's public and that there's a chance you may be recorded.
"I don't think there's any great expectation of privacy in a public space," said Bob Toll with Denver Parks and Rec, "we're going to be scanning an area, we're not going to be focusing in on individuals unless there's a problem behavior that we're seeing."
The city plans to spend a total of $104,000 on camera installations this year. In total, the department has spent about $250,000.
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