Northglenn City Council is considering closing E.B. Rains Jr. Memorial Park an hour earlier to help reduce criminal activity. Residents and park …
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Northglenn City Council is considering closing E.B. Rains Jr. Memorial Park an hour earlier to help reduce criminal activity.
Residents and park users attended the Aug. 13 council meeting to express concerns about crime going on near the skate park and on the bike path leading to the park. Police Chief James May discussed the issue with council during its Aug. 20 study session.
Overall, there has been a 77 percent increase in calls for police service and a 67 percent increase in case reports at E.B. Rains park since the opening of the Don Anema Memorial Skate Park in August 2011, according to a memo May prepared.
From August 2011 to August 2012, there were 773 police calls to the park; one year prior to the skate park opening, from August 2010 to August 2011, there were 436 calls; and two years prior for that time frame, there were 414 calls.
May said immediate actions the police are taking are an increase of patrols in the area of the skate park and turning off the skate park lights by 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m., when the entire park closes. Security lighting will still be turned on for the safety of park users.
Some council members said they were in favor of closing the entire park at 10 p.m. to help curb criminal activity. However, May said, many residents use the walking trail around the lake between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
“I hate to do that (close an hour early) if we’ve got residents walking around,” said Mayor Joyce Downing. “We’re penalizing everyone for a group of folks.”
Council decided to consider the option at a later time.
City Attorney Corey Hoffmann said problems at the skate park are one of many issues concerning the park. He said he is working on long-term remedies.
“We’ve already been working on what other tools might be available in the city’s toolbox to address misconduct in the park,” he said. “For example, if someone is convicted of a crime in the park the city may consider as part of a penalty banning them from the park.”
“If we’re having these many issues in the park, and not just in one little isolated area,” Ward IV councilwoman Kim Snetzinger said, “we need to start looking at some security cameras, especially since we’re having vandalism on our art pieces and more stuff going on.”
May said that cameras cost $600 to $900 and to install a wireless connection could run between $15,000 and $18,000.
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