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Smile: cameras provide protection

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF
A small camera installed above the Lucy the Moose sculpture at Chloe Lane watches for vandals. The store's manager says the sculpture has required repairs three or four times after vandals attacked. Grayson West/Park Record
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If a drunken bar hopper on Main Street gives Lucy the Moose a punch, the police might have the evidence they need to catch the person.

Down the street, should someone break the law at the Sky Lodge construction site, there could be telltale tape.

Recently, at least two cameras have been set up in the Main Street core aimed at specific sites in an effort to fight crime.

Although it does not appear to be a trend, the two cameras, the other is at Chloe Lane, where the moose sculpture is, signify a new way that the private sector is combating crime along Main Street, Park City’s most happening spot.

"It makes good business sense. For a relatively small investment, they can deter vandalism, theft or other criminal activity," says Phil Kirk, a Park City Police Department lieutenant, acknowledging that the police are not aware of outdoor surveillance in lots of spots around Park City.

Often Main Street businesses that use cameras do so inside in an effort to stop shoplifters. The cameras like those at the Sky Lodge and Chloe Lane seem unique in that they are focused outside.

"We can’t be there every minute, 24 hours a day," Kirk says about the Police Department, which patrols Main Street frequently, adding that the cameras are a "cost-effective approach" to fighting crime.

At Chloe Lane, an upscale clothing boutique, the Lucy the Moose sculpture, which stands outside right off the Main Street sidewalk, has been attacked several times, says Nancy Nichols, the store’s manager. The store has had to replace the sculpture’s hat and its belt, she says.

"We keep getting vandalism," she says. "Three or four times, we’ve had to make repairs."

Nichols says that the store installed the camera a few months ago and a few weeks ago a sign was posted telling people of the camera. The camera, a small tubular device, is barely noticeable to someone not looking for it.

The sign, black and blue with white lettering, is posted a few feet from the sculpture. It reads, "Please be kind to the moose. No climbing sitting hanging Smile for our Security Camera!"

The moose sculpture was purchased in an auction benefiting arts organizations and is one of several that remains on public display.

"It’s not been vandalized since we put it up," Nichols says about the effectiveness of the camera. "I don’t know if that says anything."

She says that the camera is focused on the sculpture and it does not record what is happening on the sidewalk or on Main Street.

Main Street through much of the year is hopping with Parkites and tourists and it has the largest concentration of bars in Summit County. The Police Department in 2005 responded to 176 reported incidents of criminal mischief, which includes vandalism reports, throughout the city. The department, though, does not identify where they occurred.

Meanwhile, down the street from Chloe Lane, at the Sky Lodge, the largest construction site in Old Town, crews have installed a camera system with several purposes, including security.

There, the developers have installed a Web cam, which John Burdick, from the lodge, says is used for security and for marketing. He says that the Web cam, for instance, monitors a Dumpster to discourage others from leaving their trash.

"I can pull the lapel off the person (walking) at Kimball Junction. This is super-powerful," Burdick says.

Placed on a chain-link fence, a sign at the Sky Lodge says "No unauthorized dumping Web cam on site!"

Burdick says that the camera watches the entire construction zone for, "people who shouldn’t be on the site."

The camera also allows buyers the chance to keep tabs on the construction.

"Our owners wanted to see the progress of the building," he says.


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