Surveillance cameras installed at Ottawa parks
New portable surveillance systems are being installed in parks across Ottawa as one of the city's newest initiatives to target crime in the Capital.
The surveillance systems will start monitoring area parks at 11 p.m. every night. Motion sensors will turn the cameras on, feeding the surveillance video to security headquarters at Ottawa City Hall.
The camera operator will then monitor the feed and decide whether or not to voice warnings to park patrons who are causing problems before reporting incidents to Ottawa police, bylaw officers or security guards.
"They turn around and think this is the voice of God. Some of them think that 'Oh, this is just a recording.' Then we address them by the colour of their jacket," said Bob Gauvreau, Ottawa's corporate security manager.
Ottawa councillor Shad Qadri says those warnings will be used when problems in parks are minor.
"When you initially get a call about a beer bottle breaking or something along those lines in terms of a mischievous act, do we have time for the police to have the resources to come out and cover something like that?" Qadri asked.
The increased surveillance is being welcomed by some residents and caregivers who say the cameras will help keep area parks safe.
"Me and several of my caregiver friends come weekly -- we play here. There's glass around, there's terrible words written on the play structure, on the building. You have to be very careful with the kids crawling around," said Roz Charlebois, a child caregiver working in the Capital.
While surveillance cameras might help dissolve problems in area parks, Ron Turner, whose backyard faces a nearby park, says he fears the new system could instigate Big Brother tactics.
City officials, though, say the monitoring system has been designed to turn a blind eye to things that happen on private property.
Turner says while he often sees rowdy people in the park near his home, he believes police presence is the ultimate way to prevent crime in Ottawa neighbourhoods.
The city is leasing the portable surveillance units for $130 per night. If the city decides to install permanent systems, the cost will be about $50,000 for each system.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua