Eye in the Sky: Tracy camera program aims to increase safety at public parks

A reduction in the use of neighborhood parks led the City of Tracy to do a little digging. Why were less people using parks in Tracy? Resident concerns of safety seemed to top the list, as notable crimes began popping up in the local news. To increase park usage, the City Council approved spending as part of the Park Camera Program to install IntelliSite cameras in parks where safety was a notable concern, according to a recent Citywide Parks, Recreation & Trails Master Plan Update community survey.

Clyde Bland Park, Lincoln Park, Gretchen Talley Park, Dr. Powers Park, and El Pescadero Park were chosen as the first sites for the program, which includes the addition of a camera and signage to alert residents of the technology (as well as another measure to deter crime). “The parks selected for the program were prioritized based on public safety needs and calls for service trends,” says Carissa Lucas, public information officer for the City Manager’s Office.

The idea came from success with similar initiatives to reduce crime. “Cameras have become a common, effective tool for public safety at the Tracy Transit Station, Boyd Service Center, and Legacy Fields,” says Brian MacDonald, parks and recreation director. “The Park Camera Program will help ensure our parks continue to remain a welcoming and safe place for the public to enjoy.”

Already installed at the Legacy Fields Sports Complex, Carissa says the cameras have been effective in deterring crime, especially after-hours.

The cameras work by providing a live stream of park activity, which IntelliSite observes. “They are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the appropriate city departments are notified to take action, when necessary,” Carissa says. While some may feel the cameras are an infringement on their privacy, the City of Tracy insures residents the desire is only to reduce crime, not to spy on residents following park rules.

The public is encouraged to continue to submit questions or service requests at the parks using the City’s outreach program. Simply download  the GoRequest App or call the Parks and Recreation Department for assistance.

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