Hamilton will step up security patrols starting next spring at city parks that have experienced repeated vandalism, graffiti and theft problems.
The proposed three-year pilot project, subject to council approving the estimated $96,000 budget for 2021 and increasing to $100,000 in 2023, would provide 12-hour coverage for the year from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., seven days a week.
“This program would also reinforce ownership and acceptable behaviour in the property outside of hours where regular use is permitted, and when city staffing operations are typically present,” stated the report.
The public works committee recommendation will be discussed at the July 17 council meeting.
Delfina Duarte, manager of facilities planning, said staff would conduct a security assessment of the parks that would “try and deter (vandalism) of activity going on.”
Mountain Coun. Tom Jackson said two weeks ago a utility shed, located beside a bocce court at Lisgar Park on the Mountain that was vandalized, had residents in the area “in tears.”
He said chairs were thrown about, walls were scratched and tools broken.
“Some lousy punks took it upon themselves at some point in time to do this damage,” said Jackson. “It saddens me and angers me on behalf of our responsible citizens and families that want to enjoy their public spaces.”
Jackson applauded the idea of establishing heightened patrols of area parks to crack down on vandalism and graffiti. He was even more enthusiastic over the idea of the city installing cameras in parks. He said that in 2016, the city installed closed-circuit cameras at Fay Avenue Park, located at 95 Broker Drive near Organ Crescent, to deter graffiti taggers and people who have been dumping waste in the area.
Jackson praised the success of the cameras at the park – the first one to use cameras.