BOUNTIFUL — A network of surveillance cameras will be installed in the coming months to help the city better deal with vandalism, theft and drug problems in public areas.
The Bountiful City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the $35,000 network. Cameras will be installed at 4th North Park, North Canyon Park, the Hidden Lake Trailhead, Bountiful Cemetery, Bountiful Ridge Golf Course and the city's landfill.
"We will generally be using it to go back and review video after we know crimes have taken place," Bountiful Police Lt. Ed Biehler said.
The cameras, Biehler said, will not be pointed toward private property, and though they will transmit live video, nobody will be staffed to watch the cameras full-time.
Biehler said Bountiful city parks alone are seeing $10,000 to $15,000 in damage per year at the hands of vandals.
Jerry Wilson, the city's parks and recreation director, surveyed Wednesday what has been a continual trouble spot for the city at 4th North Park. There, Wilson said vandals had ripped out sinks and a toilet in the public restroom, had knocked down privacy walls and had even tried to set fire to the place last month.
A nearby slippery slide had also had a trying existence. Wilson said it had been replaced four times in the past five to six years after vandals trashed it.
"(They used) a big metal post like a fence post, and they just pounded holes through it with that post," Wilson said.
Another time, somebody cut through the center of the slide, he said. Each time the slide had to be replaced, it cost the city and taxpayers $800.
Bountiful Cemetery secretary Annette Nelson said she was hopeful the surveillance network may help deter theft from grave sites. She said Memorial Day and Mother's Day at the cemetery are big days for thieves.
"It's really hard for a lot of people. A lot of people come in and cry that their things are gone," Nelson said. "There are a lot of people who come to the cemetery every day, and they know when their things have been gone."
Biehler said neighbors near the Hidden Lake Trailhead have pledged $3,000 to the project to have camera coverage there. Neighbors say drug activity and graffiti is common.
"There is enough criminal activity taking place there that the people who live in that area are definitely concerned," Biehler said.
The network should be installed relatively quickly. Biehler gave a timetable of up to two months before the cameras are operational.
Wilson said the system will be up and running by next spring.