NBC10Philadelphia.com - Katy Zachry
With two deadly shootings at Philadelphia playgrounds in five days' time, the city is now pushing for a high tech solution. City officials say security cameras at a local Recreation Center have curbed violence. Now other rec centers will soon be outfitted with the cameras. NBC10's Katy Zachry talked with city leaders and people who live in the area about the new plan.
In the midst of recent violence at Philadelphia playgrounds, several rec centers are now adding security cameras. Vare Recreation Center in South Philadelphia currently has 16 cameras installed. City leaders say they plan to install cameras in up to 30 more Philadelphia rec centers by this time, next year
“Our limited experience tells us this is a deterrent,” said Michael DiBerardinis, the Deputy Mayor/Commissioner of Parks and Recreation.
DiBerardinis tells NBC10 crime went down at Vare as soon as the cameras were installed. He hopes the same thing will happen at Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center in the next few weeks. The North Philadelphia center was slated to get cameras this fall but after a deadly shooting in the middle of a packed playground on Monday, the date for the installation has moved up.
“We’re always looking to run the safest operation we can,” said DiBerardinis. “We’re pursuing that right now.”
DiBerardinis is convinced the cameras will make every rec center safer. Local residents have mixed feelings however.
“It might prevent a little bit,” said Stephanie Walker. “But you know, these people out here, they’re too smart for the cameras.”
“The first day I moved here there were incidents happening left and right,” said Jamella Monroe. “It’s just mellowed down a lot.”
“If people notice there are security camera then they’re less inclined to want to sell drugs or deal drugs or commit violent crimes or anything like that to put the kids in harm’s way,” said William Carney.
The city also says they’re looking to enhance the lighting and fencing around the area where Monday night’s shooting took place.