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Cameras, Gates Considered to Combat Parks Vandalism

Along with an increased police presence in the parks, Muskego Parks Board hopes "eyes in the skies" as well as cattle gates might take care of vandals, or at least catch them in the act.

After repeated after-hours entries in Park Arthur and Idle Isle Park by four-wheel-drive trucks, solutions have been sought to catch vandals, or prevent them from entering the parks altogether.

The Parks and Recreation Board had discussed the use of a gate at Park Arthur to stop trucks from taking the "sledding hill challenge" after closing time. There have been about three such incidents that have left ruts in the hill, damaging the growing turf. Parks Director Craig Anderson also said that as recently as the last month, another vehicle was seen driving around the grass at Idle Isle Park as well.

Anderson presented the use of a solar-powered camera that could be placed up and out of the way, an option that was appealing for several reasons.

"The fact that the camera does not need an electrical source is huge," Anderson said. "It eliminates thousands of dollars in cost to run lines. It's also portable, so that if we need to move it to another area, we can just take it down."

Anderson also said the model they were considering used facial recognition technology to help make capturing vandals more likely.

Initial estimates for a unit are about $5,000 to $6,000.

Anderson also asked the board for further direction on the type of gate that they're seeking at Park Arthur, and stated that the Muskego Police Department was willing to close the gates each night. Board members requested that a cattle gate design would be optimum, as it provided the least cost while also "doing the job" of keeping vehicles out of the park after hours.

The final piece of the puzzle was enforcement for the offenders, Anderson said.

"Although I'm happy to see the results that the increased patrols have brought, I'm pushing for more citations to be written, to be honest," he told the board. "I'd like to see that we're fining people who are committing these acts to show that we're serious, and getting the restitution for the damage."

Overall the last couple of months Anderson said that the increased patrols have helped catch vandals. A snowmobiler and the driver of a truck were caught in Park Arthur and the driver of the vehicle that had driven on the lawn at Idle Isle was caught by police since November.

The board will not likely make a recommendation until costs on all of the options have been gathered, as early as their Feb. 11 meeting.

Jon Heil January 17, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Just like more of the businesses should think about as well, maybe they are reading some of the Patch posts and getting smarter :)

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