MASSENA - The effort to combat vandalism at Massenas recreation facilities has taken another step forward.
Recreation Superintendent Richard A. Boprey said a new security camera has been placed at the Creative Playground on Danforth Place. Seven have been placed around the village at parks and intersections by the Massena Police Department.
We got one. A camera has been installed at the wooden park, near the site of the former tennis courts, Mr. Boprey told members of the Massena Joint Recreation Commission on Tuesday.
The cameras, which are funded by a grant secured through the office of Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, will assist the department in deterring criminal activity, recording evidence, increasing conviction rates and improving village safety, according to Police Chief Timmy J. Currier.
The camera not only provides us with real time coverage of the area, where the dispatcher can watch and monitor live, the system allows us to go back and look at data collected should we have a complaint in that area, Mr. Currier said in an email.
The Creative Playground has been one of the recreation facilities that has been a source of vandalism the past couple of years. This year recreation employees had to replace 20 2-by-2s to fix railings that were repeatedly being broken.
Vandals had also spread an inch-and-a-half of loose stones across the Springs Park bandshell, which also stank of urine. In addition, they struck the Massena Town Beach and Alcoa Field tennis courts, and someone also ripped off a toilet paper dispenser and broke a sink in a Bushnell Field bathroom.
Last year recreation officials tried to combat the vandalism at the Creative Playground by installing signs that indicated the park was closed after dark, and asking users not to loiter, smoke, use alcohol, create graffiti, swear or bring dogs.
But that did little to deter vandalism to that site, as well as other recreation facilities that did not have signs.
Mr. Currier said the Creative Playground appeared to have taken the brunt of the vandalism, making it the first priority for the security camera.
Over the years we have had numerous issues at the wooden playground on Danforth, from criminal mischief (damage to the structure, graffiti, etc), to fighting, older kids loitering and causing safety issues, therefore the playground is one of the areas that I have identified to receive one of the seven cameras posted throughout the village, he said.
Mr. Boprey said he hopes to see other cameras installed at recreation facilities in the future, as budgets for the police and recreation departments allow. His next priorities, he said, would be Springs Park and Alcoa Field.