DENVER -- Green thumbs, think twice. Those daises, geraniums and alliums might not be worth getting caught red handed.
Denver Parks and Recreation have motion detection cameras watching over flower beds.
"We put the cameras up to act as a deterrent to let people know that we are watching, and to bring awareness to the community that this is a problem," said Denver Parks and Rec Superintendent Adam Smith.
There are two cameras on East Seventh Avenue Parkway between Jackson and Garfield Streets. Well, there is only one camera now, more on that later in this article.
"In 2016, we lost 150 flowers out of this bed, alone," said Smith. "It's not extreme because it's acted as a pretty successful deterrent. When people, who are trying to do something wrong, know that they are being watched, they tend to not to it anymore, so after installing the cameras, we had zero plant theft the next spring."
9NEWS has covered flower theft before. In 2014, Colleen Ferreira reported on flower thefts from 11th Avenue and Monaco Parkway.
Denver Parks and Rec told Next that her reporting helped lead to the idea of installing cameras.
"We think most of them get stolen just for personal use to put in their own containers or their own backyards," said Smith. "It's not only an expensive problem for plant replacements, but there's a lot of labor that goes into the initial planting."
Denver Parks and Rec estimates the thievery costs taxpayers thousands of dollars in flowers and labor.
Signs are posted near the flower beds in Cranmer Park, east of Third Avenue and Colorado Boulevard:
"This area is being monitored by cameras It is unlawful to pick, remove or damage any vegetation."
The flowers are also monitored at Montbello Central Park, north of Interstate 70 and Peoria.
The cameras Parks and Rec uses, however, are not streaming live. They are battery operated, based on motion and record on an SD card.
"It's not something that gets monitored in real time, but it is something that we can go see what pictures we're taking, and kind of thumb through them, and hopefully identify and line up plant theft with the cameras."
Which brings us to why there is only one camera left on Seventh Avenue Parkway.
Next called Xcel Energy on Thursday afternoon to see if Xcel knew why there was a camera on a street light pole. We sent Xcel a photo of the camera on the pole at Seventh Avenue Parkway and Jackson Street.
On Friday afternoon, while the flowers were watching, the camera disappeared. An Xcel spokeswoman said the camera was taken down because Xcel could not confirm who it belonged to or why it was there in the first place.
Now that Xcel and Denver Parks and Rec are on the same page, Xcel has offered to put the camera back on the pole.