The City of Burnaby has installed cameras in Central Park in an effort to keep the area safe, Mayor Derek Corrigan announced at his re-election campaign office Tuesday.
He said the new measure is an example of his party’s “ongoing commitment to ensuring Burnaby is safe place to live, work, learn and play.”
Corrigan’s Burnaby Citizens Association is hoping to sweep all council seats for a fourth time in a row in the Oct. 20 civic election.
The mayor said the cameras will not be monitored live but will be available as an investigative tool following crimes and other incidents in the park. He said they will also act as a crime deterrent.
Corrigan would not say how many cameras there are in Central Park, citing a concern that if the number were public, criminals would be better able to avoid detection. He said more cameras are coming to Central Park and may be installed in other parks down the road.
Craig Collis, the city’s assistant director of recreation, previously told the NOW five cameras would be installed in the park.
The announcement came less than two weeks after 28-year-old Ibrahim Ali was charged with the murder of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen, who was found dead in the park in July 2017.
“When you have a tragic death like we did in that park, I want everyone to know that we came back and followed up on it,” Corrigan said. “We want to do everything that we can to prevent it [from repeating].”
Corrigan praised the dogged investigation led by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team that led to the charges.
He said that investigation brought to light some security shortcomings in the park, which are now being addressed.
In February, the province’s acting information and privacy commissioner, Drew McArthur, released a statement criticizing municipalities for installing cameras in public places.
McArthur said Richmond, Kelowna and Terrace were implementing “video surveillance in public spaces, on a scale that would be unprecedented in B.C.”
“These proposals all assume that video surveillance prevents crime and justifies the persistent
invasion of the privacy of law-abiding people who are just going about their day-to-day business,” he wrote. “Video surveillance is tempting to local governments. At first blush, it’s an easy way to appear to address public safety issues, rather than take on the more difficult challenge of the social ills from which crime arises.”
Corrigan acknowledged privacy is an important consideration when considering such cameras.
“Public safety is a high priority for all of us and there are lot of opportunities for people to enjoy a walk in the park where there won’t be cameras,” he said.
The city is also planning to install emergency call boxes in the park this winter, Corrigan said.