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New MacArthur Park cameras OKd

Council wants reports on whether equipment is functioning.

January 17, 2008|Ari B. Bloomekatz and Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writers

Responding to reports that some police-operated surveillance cameras in MacArthur Park were inoperable and without funding for maintenance, the Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Wednesday to install six new cameras in the neighborhood while demanding more accountability for the equipment already there.

Councilman Ed Reyes had planned to ask the council for $150,000 to add six security cameras to the 6th Street corridor in the Westlake District near the park. But he amended the motion to include an accountability provision after The Times reported that much of the existing equipment, which includes more than half a dozen cameras, has been failing.

"Some of the cameras work and some don't," said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The full council unanimously approved the motion.

Police and city officials maintain that the cameras are an important crime-fighting tool in the neighborhood and that a recent uptick in violence in and around MacArthur Park has little to do with technical failures and more to do with reduced staffing.

The surveillance cameras were introduced in the park in 2004, and officials cheered as gang activity fell over the next two years.

But now gangs may again be gaining a foothold in the park and surrounding neighborhood, police officials said. In 2007, assaults, auto thefts and robberies sharply increased in the area, according to LAPD data.

In addition to the cameras, Reyes' motion requested that the Department of General Services and the LAPD provide a full report on the operational status of the existing cameras in the park.

It also asked for a status and maintenance report for all cameras installed in public areas throughout the city.


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