City Expands Cameras in Parks

Anti-crime measure draws criticism

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The city has installed surveillance cameras in area parks

    The city has installed 20 new surveillance cameras in parks to try and prevent after-hours crime -- but not everybody is pleased.

    Those new cameras detect motion and emit a flash of light and a recording that warns "Your picture has been taken for suspicious activity by the NYPD" according to a report in the Daily News.

    Corey Blackburn complained to the paper that the cameras and the recording frightened him and his two dogs while they were in Fort Tryon Park last Sunday at about 7 p.m.

    "They freaked out," Blackburn, 40, told the paper.

    Blackburn said his two spooked dachshunds almost dragged him down a set of stairs that lead to the bottom of the park.

    "I felt like my civil rights were violated," said Blackburn, who noted that the flash and recording came without any warning. "It was disturbing ... I could have broken my neck."

    The New York Civil Liberties Union said that it was investigating Blackburn's complaint.

    The Parks Department told the paper that the Fort Tryon Park cameras should have been set for later than 7 p.m. -- and have now been adjusted.  The department also said vandals apparently took down the warning sign about the new surveillance.

    The Parks Department defended cameras as an effective crime deterrent.  The program began in 2008 inside Manhattan's Highbridge Park, while the Fort Tryon camera was installed several months ago.

    Officials say they move the cameras based on crime patterns and have installed them in locations including Central Park, Marine Park in Brooklyn, South Beach in Staten Island and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.