DENVER -- Denver Parks and Recreation have installed 14 new security cameras in Civic Center in an effort to stop crime in the area.
The HALO cameras at Civic Center will be monitored by Denver police and will likely go online later next week, reported the Denver Post.
The cameras are part of a network of surveillance Denver police established around the city in high-activity areas.
Civic Center, which is bordered by Colfax Avenue, Broadway and Speer Boulevard connects downtown to popular tourist attractions like the state capitol, the city and county building, the Denver Library and the Denver Art Museum, has a reputation for being a troubled area.
Visitors like Venus Boatner say the park has had crime and drug problems for years. “I don’t think I’d take my kids to play here.” Boatner says she took her wedding photos at the park’s Greek Theater but her photographer, “had to crop some of the photos because there was people lying on the stairs."
Ignacio Correa plays soccer at the park every Friday, and says he's had run ins with drug users. He remembers one incident where he walked-in on someone in a public restroom. “He was shooting something up his veins."
Crimes in the park have skyrocketed recently. There were 445 reported crimes from January to June this year, that’s up 115 from the same time last year.
With crime on the rise, the city has added 14 HALO cameras around the park. Jeff Green works for the city Parks and Recreation Department and says he’s seen all kinds of crimes at the park. “A lot of graffiti, some vandalism. You know we had the shooting on April 20th, so we knew it was time to put in some additional cameras."
The new cameras will reinforce five others already in place around the park. Those cameras proved valuable to officers during the 4/20 shooting as they could quickly zoom in on various locations, and send officers where they were needed.
The park at Civic Center is often used for festivities on the weekends.
The city has been trying to clean up the park and draw workers from downtown by restoring the amphitheater, landscaping and holding regular events like Civic Center EATS Outdoor Cafe on Tuesdays and Thursdays.