Leaders look for security improvements in county parks - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Leaders look for security improvements in county parks

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The county installed some cameras in various parks a few years ago to catch the offenders, now they're asking for more. (Source: WECT) The county installed some cameras in various parks a few years ago to catch the offenders, now they're asking for more. (Source: WECT)
Vandalism and other illegal behavior taking place in the bathrooms and on the ball fields at some county parks are causing some concern among parents. (Source: WECT) Vandalism and other illegal behavior taking place in the bathrooms and on the ball fields at some county parks are causing some concern among parents. (Source: WECT)
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

More eyes could be watching if you visit parks in New Hanover County. Leaders want to add even more security cameras to keep unwanted behavior out of those public places.

Staff workers in New Hanover County are calling this a new approach to solve a decades-old problem. Vandalism and other illegal behavior taking place in the bathrooms and on the ball fields at some county parks are causing some concern among parents.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office says they're looking into dozens of "crimes against nature" calls taking place across county parks, specifically Hugh MacRae Park off S. College Road.

The NHC Director of Parks and Gardens, Tara Duckworth says they installed some cameras in various parks a few years ago to catch the offenders. Now, they're working with staff to pick strategic locations to put more cameras in place and they are working to find the money to pay for them.

While it may help, Duckworth said she believes cameras alone won't make things safer.

"People don't want to be in an area where people are watching them," Duckworth said. "It's important to have citizens watch out for things that don't seem right to them and reporting those to us are our best way to track activity we don't like to have in the park."

The Parks and Garden Department must fill out the necessary paperwork by the end of May in order to have the new cameras accounted for in the county's budget. If approved, Duckworth hopes to install several new cameras across county parks by the summer of 2015.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office says investigations into the illegal activity in the parks will continue and deputies will make arrests when they are necessary.

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