Security Cameras Installed in L.A. Park to Cut Down on Gang Violence

After being stalled at City Hall since last year, six security cameras have been installed in Harvard Park in South Los Angeles. According to the L.A. Times, the cameras were intended to cut down crime rates in South L.A. However, the project was stalled at City Hall last year until a young man was gunned down in the park. The project had been stalled since February when the public safety committee questioned whether or not the cameras were actually going to be effective. Officials decided to place the cameras in the park after known gang-members shot a graphic music video at the location.

Today, a Los Angeles Councilman is unveiled the new cameras, which are part a multi-year effort to renovate parks in South Los Angeles. The new security equipment was placed in the middle and around the perimeter of the park. "We have had great success with each of our parks in remodeling them, in changing them and upgrading them," he said, "This is just one more phase to bringing this park up to standard." Last year, the park's reputation was marred by an unprovoked shooting that took the life of a 19-year-old. Now, city officials hope that the security cameras will help visitors feel safe again and encourage them to use the park for positive activities.

The general manager of the Department of Recreation hopes that the cameras will help local residents enjoy the outdoors, but is saddened by the fact that the city had to take this precaution. "This was born out of tragedy and let's not underestimate it," he said, "Park should be free of violence. Everybody should be able to come to the parks and enjoy the outdoors…but how sad it is that we have to do this?" He also hopes that the cameras will discourage criminal activity in the park – specifically gang-related crimes and tragedies.

The young man who died in the park last September was a volunteer at the Summer Night Lights anti-gang program. He was sitting on a bench listening to music around 3:15 pm when a man with a gun approached him suddenly and opened fire. The gunman fled, leaving the teen with multiple gunshot wounds in his torso. Detectives said that he was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime. "He was the one guy you would go to the park and see and he was always doing something positive," said an 77th Division LAPD police officer.

Several months later, no arrests have been made in relationship to the teen's death, but police questioned whether or not the gunman mistook him for a gang member when the crime took place. A $50,000 reward has been offered for anyone who can provide information related to the crime. The young man's mother said that she wishes the cameras were in place before her son's death. "I'm happy that the cameras are finally in place," she said, "My only remorse is that they were not in place prior to my son's murder."

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