Despite crime, not all parks have security cameras

(WSMV file photo)

It's been more than a year since a woman was raped at a Nashville park while babysitting two children.

The News 4 I-Team began looking in to what the city has done since then to make sure the parks are safe.

The I-Team has learned many of the parks have security cameras, but it’s hard to tell where they are and whether they’re working.

Even though it's not her neighborhood park, Timecha Smith doesn't like to bring her kids to Fisk Park. But Park said one day it was just too beautiful to pass up.

Still, she worries.

“You have to look over your shoulder 24/7. You have to worry about a bullet coming from the next street over, so I don't think it’s safe,” Smith said.

Fisk Park is one of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods, according to Metro police. Records show they've responded to the area around Fisk Park, which is 24th Avenue, more than 1,000 times in the past six months.

“You think every city park should have a camera?” reporter Lindsay Bramson asked.

“Yes ma’am, I think that to protect the kids, yes,” Smith said.

Especially knowing that in 2016, an 18-year-old nanny was raped at Hamilton Creek Park.

Hamilton Creek Park has two cameras on a pole overlooking the parking lot. But the I-Team has learned they weren't working the day the woman was raped last year.

While parks department officials said they work now, the I-Team wanted to know how many other parks have cameras that simply just don't work.

Captain Chris Taylor, who oversees cameras in the parks, said he won’t answer that question for security reasons.

“Every camera that's up in a park, would it be safe to say that it’s working?” Bramson asked.

“That's not something I’m going to ever address,” Taylor said.

Still, the parks department said it costs roughly $10,000 per camera system and it's just not feasible right now to have a camera in every park.

Since that attack which happened in August of last year, 65 additional cameras have gone up at parks throughout Nashville. Police aren't saying where they are.

So how do you know if your park has a camera? The I-Team went to see if we could find them and found cameras at less than half, including Centennial Park, which does have them.

But at many of the smaller, neighborhood parks like Richland Park and Eastland Park, we didn't see one.

“The reality is not all the parks have cameras. What do you say to someone who says that's a problem?” Bramson asked.

“I don't disagree, but it's one of those using the most for the resources you have,” Taylor said.

Renee Girard said she won't go to Richland Park, which is in the Sylvan Park neighborhood, alone.

"I think there’s certain areas for sure where women are a bit more vulnerable,” Girard said.

Richland Park is another park where the I-Team couldn’t find a camera.

“I'll come here and meet friends here and play with my kids and I feel completely safe when we're doing that, but I have a hard time coming out on my own to go for a run,” said Girard.

According to Metro Parks, the top crime they deal with is car burglaries. There have been 110 vehicle break-ins and 20 robberies at parks in Nashville over the last year.

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