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Council Decides Not to Put Cameras in Plummer Park

Council members will instead consider better lighting, increased police presence and private security guards to deter criminal activity and may at some point reconsider the camera option.

The West Hollywood City Council on Monday chose to hold off on placing security cameras in Plummer Park.

Council members voted unanimously to table an agenda item that would have installed cameras activated by motion detectors and monitored by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies during the night when it is illegal for people to be in the park.

Mayor Jeffrey Prang and Councilman John Heilman favored approving a trial program to test the cameras' efficacy at deterring crime, while Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land and Councilman John Duran took the position that a stronger law enforcement presence and better lighting would more effectively cut down on after-hours lawbreaking.

"A camera gives people a false sense of security," Duran said. "They think just by having cameras that that's going to be enough to deter or enough to solve crimes."

Prang said "cameras provide a tool that allow us to move our resources around judiciously."

He noted the possibility that the high cost of a private security contractor may not be something the city may be able to afford on a permanent basis, but the comparatively low cost of surveillance cameras are a more long-lasting option.

Lt. Cheryl Newman-Tarwater from the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station told the council that homeless people camping overnight and illicit drug use are the leading issues police have encountered at Plummer Park.

In July, a man was shot and wounded in the park.

Councilman John D'Amico didn't attend Monday's council meeting, which prevented a majority vote from taking place.

A tie vote would have defeated the proposed camera project, thus preventing the council from reconsidering it, Prang told Patch.  The mayor suggested tabling the item to keep the camera option open for future consideration as the council decides its course of action toward improving security in the park.

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