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CRIME ALERT: Surveillance cameras help officers catch park vandals

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Our parks highlight the natural beauty of area.

But more and more, vandals are making them a target of destruction.

Eau Claire Parks and Recreation is working with Eau Claire Police to catch vandals, using the latest surveillance technology.

Police said they’re seeing a rise in vandalism at city parks, and surveillance technology has been successful, leading to several arrests and suspects in recent graffiti and vandalism cases.

“There isn't a park in our system or a facility that doesn't have some sort of issue with vandalism, graffiti or breaking windows,” said Phil Fieber, the director of the Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Department.

Fieber said his department has been working with police for the past three years to crack down on crime in city parks.

He said they’ve installed surveillance at parks which have had recent problems with vandalism.

That includes video cameras and special sensors that alert officers when a building has been messed with.

Fieber said the vandalism distracts from the beauty of our parks.

“It takes away from positive things we could be doing like planting more flowers or planting more trees or fixing a roof,” Fieber said.

But he said the surveillance is working.

“Just in the last couple months we've used surveillance equipment at one of our shelters and were able to apprehend the individuals who were breaking windows and writing on the side of the building with paint,” Fieber said.

But it’s not just keeping parks safe.

Officer Kyle Roder said police also use the cameras and sensors at businesses and homes that are a frequent target for criminals.

“Setting up surveillance, it doesn't solve the case right away, but what it will do is help us with crime prevention and suspect identification.
If we can use the technology to protect the community's assets and the community members, that's what we're going to do,” Roder said.

Fieber said they plan on installing more surveillance in city parks.


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