Surveillance cameras being installed in Gainesville - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Surveillance cameras being installed in Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- New surveillance cameras are going up in the city of Gainesville, but the first place they've been installed might not be where you'd expect.

The animals are supposed to be the center of attention, but at Frank Buck Zoo, thieves often have their eyes on something else.

"The zoo was being regularly vandalized or broken into," city manager Barry Sullivan said. "I think the last item that was stolen was a John Deere gator utility vehicle."

But when the next break-in happens, the zoo will be looking right back with the help of eleven new surveillance cameras recently installed inside the park and overlooking the playground in front of it.

"They're actually told that the cops have been called and they're on their way," Sullivan said.

The cameras are motion-censored so zoo managers get an alert each time anyone is detected on park grounds after hours, and if necessary, call police.

"We feel much more secure being able to watch the perimeter fences and to know what is going on and who might be in the zoo should we need to go back and take a look at that," zoo manager Rebecca Parker said.

Sullivan says the cameras cost the city $11,000 to install.

Another $5,000 is spent per year to have them monitored by a security company.

Since November, the cameras have been set off five times, but Sullivan says none of the detections have been because of mischief.

"It was just people in the park out for a jog," he said.

Sullivan says five more cameras have been ordered and will go up along street corners in the downtown area and at Forsyth SkatePark.

"In the last 5 years, we've had two major incidents of teenagers, once again, driving around shooting windows out in our downtown areas," Sullivan said. "Each of those incidents cost over $50,000."

Unlike the cameras at the zoo, the devices downtown will not be motion-censored but they will record video for police to review. The additional cameras are expected to be installed within the next month.