Security cameras coming to rec centers

The six freshman City Council members are Cindy Bass ...
The six freshman City Council members are Cindy Bass ... (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 13, 2013

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass announced a $3.6 million initiative Wednesday to install surveillance cameras in every city recreation center over the next three years.

Rather than being linked to the Philadelphia police surveillance-camera system - which continues to experience problems - the new cameras would be monitored by staff at each center.

Each of the 150 staffed recreation centers will have from four to eight cameras, Bass spokesman Joe Corrigan said. Police will help Parks and Recreation officials place the cameras, most likely in areas of highest need, beginning July 1.

Michael DiBerardinis, deputy mayor for parks and recreation, said he did not anticipate hiring staff to watch the cameras. He said he did not know how long footage would be stored.

Several recreation centers that have cameras have experienced less crime, DiBerardinis said. Bass said the statistics came from police and Parks and Recreation data.

Eleven centers have cameras, and DiBerardinis said the city was installing an additional 22.

Corrigan cited at least 17 crimes committed in recreation centers, including a rape last week. He said it had been difficult to track exact data, because the Police Department, when running basic crime statistics, does not connect crimes with recreation centers.

Bass called the cameras a "game-changer."

"We wanted to send a message," she said. "You will be apprehended if you do anything wrong."

Contact Sarah Smith at 215-854-2771 or, or follow on Twitter at @sarahesmith23.

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