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City Council to vote on agreement for parking ramp security cameras

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Rivers Landing

Rivers Landing parking ramp is shown at 419 Douglas St. Recent criminal activity at Rivers Landing has prompted the city to consider installing security cameras at the ramp, as well as at three other city ramps. 

SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Council will be asked Monday to approve an agreement with a local electrical contractor to provide and install security cameras at four city parking ramps in effort to curb crime. 

Bid notices were sent to five vendors who can provide Avigilon security cameras for Discovery, Heritage, Rivers Landing and Martin Luther King, Jr. parking ramps. Thompson Electric Company submitted the low bid of $87,415.66. 

Public Works Director Dave Carney told The Journal Friday the ramps are safe, and he described the recent crimes that have occurred as minor.  

"Probably the worst is the person that's stealing gas or causing damage to certain vehicles by drilling the gas tanks," he said. "I don't want to give a perception that they're unsafe. We're not having any type of assault or things like that where people are being accosted."

Community Policing Sgt. Jeremy McClure said the Sioux City Police Department has been working with the city's parking division to "improve safety" in the ramps, after concerns were raised about criminal activity at Rivers Landing, 419 Douglas St.

Dispatchers fielded 23 criminal-type calls for service at Rivers Landing between Jan. 1 and Oct. 12, according to data provided by the department. The data shows that 13 actual crimes occurred at the ramp during that time period -- one burglary, one drug possession, seven thefts from vehicles and four criminal mischief incidents. 

McClure said most of the crimes that have occurred at Rivers Landing are crimes of opportunity, such as thefts of purses, bags or wallets left in plain view inside of vehicles.

"This does not make it right, but criminals are typically looking for an easy way to obtain things," he said. "On the crime prevention side of things, people should not leave valuables inside of their vehicles. And they should never leave valuables in plain view. When they do, it makes their vehicle and property a target of opportunity."

McClure said the camera system, if approved, will create a "historical document," which will help the department investigate these types of crimes.

Installing an Avigilon system would allow the new cameras to be compatible with existing cameras installed in other city facilities. Carney said the cameras will be tied in to those already located in and around City Hall. He said the cameras will record the "comings and goings" at the ramps' entrances, but noted that an individual won't be monitoring the system in real time. 

"Basically, if somebody knows about the time someone came and did the crime, we'd be able to go back and look at the footage. We'll keep it for so many days. But, it won't be like we have somebody watching it," he said.

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