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Public Safety

Since escalation of incidents, cameras have been installed in Greene Square

Greene Square as seen from the roof of the Cedar Rapids Public Library in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May. 15, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Greene Square as seen from the roof of the Cedar Rapids Public Library in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May. 15, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Background

Earlier this year, a working group convened to study an escalation of incidents requiring police in some downtown Cedar Rapids parks.

One of those incidents included a June fatal assault in Greene Square.

In response, the working group in June recommended the installation of security cameras in Greene Square, Redmond Park and the downtown area as part of a proactive policing effort.

Police said the selected areas were chosen because they have the most foot traffic.

What’s Happened Since

Lt. Tony Robinson of the Cedar Rapids Police Department said a camera was installed over the summer near the Cedar Rapids Public Library overlooking Greene Square. The camera has a 180-degree view of the park.

Robinson said the camera could be a temporary fixture, and the plan is to install permanent cameras and the necessary fiber at a central location in the park.

“That’s going to provide a full 360-degree view of the park,” he said.

The cameras will provide 24-hour surveillance on the park, help deter crime and provide evidence in the event of an incident. Robinson said the hope is to have cameras installed in the next month or two.

What’s more, Robinson said the number of incidents at Greene Square has dropped considerably in the last month or so, with the park seeing about 60 calls for service in September — most of those being self-initiated checks and patrols.

There were only a few actual arrests last month, he added.

Robinson attributed that reduction in crime not just to police presence, but the increased activities at the park. More events help cut down on the crime, he said.

“I think that also has made a huge difference,” he said.

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In addition to Greene Square, Robinson said cameras also will be installed this year at Redmond Park.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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