In Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by admin

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PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Kenney and Council President Darrell L. Clarke today announced the installing of over 100 security cameras outside recreation centers across the city to create “Safe Play Zones” for children and families.

The 14 Safe Play Zone camera sites were chosen by Philadelphia Police, based on crime data and in collaboration with the Managing Director’s Office and Office of Information & Technology.

The idea for security cameras outside recreation centers and playgrounds arose in City Council in 2021 legislation introduced on Council President Clarke’s behalf. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the procurement process, but Council allocated nearly $5 Million to install and operate these cameras in the Five-Year Financial Plan adopted in the FY2023 budget.

There have been nearly 300 incidents of gun violence at or near city parks and recreation facilities since 2019, according to Parks & Recreation Department Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. In 2022, a Parks & Recreation employee, Tiffany Fletcher, was fatally shot when caught in a shooting crossfire outside Mill Creek recreation center in West Philadelphia.

At a news conference today outside Marie Denby Recreation Center, at 10th & Oxford Streets in North Philadelphia, Council President Clarke and Mayor Kenney joined other city officials to make the case that these 100 Safe Play Zone cameras would help make recreation centers safer spaces for children and families.

“These cameras are essential as Philadelphia police create a safety net around our rec centers and playgrounds,” Council President Clarke said. “Our kids need safe spaces to play, and this initiative is one more step to help achieve that for them.”

“Recreation centers, parks, and playgrounds are a vital part of city life,” Mayor Kenney said. “In this year’s proposed budget, we plan to expand access to rec centers through more weekend hours and continue our investments in recreational facilities through Rebuild. The Safe Play Zone cameras are an ideal complement to these efforts, offering an added layer of security to public spaces just in time for spring and summer — and reflecting our commitments to public safety and thriving neighborhoods.”

Recreation Commissioner Lovell agreed with the Mayor and Council President, welcomed the new Safe Play Zone cameras near recreation centers, and urged residents to avail themselves and their children of all the summertime activities available at city playgrounds.

“When teens and young adults are engaged in programs at Parks & Rec sites, or working alongside caring adult role models, we get closer to combating the senseless violence that is impacting communities across the city,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell. “The additional security offered at Safe Play Zones is one more way our city is stepping up to keep our play places safe for kids and families.”

Philadelphia police made the siting decisions for the new cameras based on crime data in the areas immediately around or adjacent to city recreation centers.

Here is a list of the recreation centers chosen for this initial flight of security cameras, which will all be tied into a central intelligence network monitored around the clock by police personnel at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC) in South Philadelphia.

Hunting Park Recreation Center
12 surveillance cameras

Hancock Rec Center
8 surveillance cameras

Lonnie Young Rec Center
10 surveillance cameras

Tanner G. Duckery Playground
11 surveillance cameras

Marie Denby Rec Center
11 surveillance cameras

Francis Myers Rec Center
10 surveillance cameras

Cecil B Moore Rec Center
3 surveillance cameras

Russo Park Playground
11 surveillance cameras

Happy Hollow Rec Center
9 surveillance cameras

Wissinoming Park
12 surveillance cameras

Martin Luther King Rec Center
10 surveillance cameras

McVeigh Rec Center
10 surveillance cameras

Feltonville Rec Center
8 surveillance cameras

Rivera Rec Center
3 surveillance cameras installed on 2/23 (Total of 7 cameras on the way)


“The installation of 129 surveillance cameras at 14 Safe Play Zone rec centers is an example of what can be accomplished when City Council, the Managing Director’s Office, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, The Office of Innovation & Technology, and the Police Department work collaboratively toward our common goal to enhance public safety – especially for our city’s children and youth,” said Managing Director Tumar Alexander. “Once the rebuild is completed at Rivera Rec center, the remaining seven cameras will be installed and we are adding Mill Creek Rec Center for the final site.”

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